Reunion!

April 23rd, 2017

With Ann Muse

With Ann Muse

I returned to Hendrix College this weekend for my 35th reunion – how fun! It has been a blast.

Friday night, Ann and I went to Cabe Theatre to see the student production of “Proof” – very well done. It is always such an exciting feeling to walk into the theatre there.

I spent the night with Ann and Jim, and got rested up for a busy day. After a quick trip to Maumelle to get my hair cut, I made it back to campus in time to catch part of the alumni awards breakfast. The highlight of the trip was seeing my beloved accounting professor, Stephen Kerr. Despite his too-young age, he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. I was delighted that he remembered me. Karen Kaufman and I were his students his very first semester teaching, and we were relentless teasers! He always knew that we adored him, though.

From there, I went to the BBQ and caught up with some folks, then Ann and I went to pick up Dr. Henenberg, our former drama coach and sage. We went to the last lectures of Dr. Tom Goodwin and Dr. Alice Hines. I welled up during Tom’s, even though I never even had him for a class!

In the evening, I drove to Little Rock for our class party in the River Market, at the top of Roger Chinn’s building. We had so much fun! I got to catch up with David and Lezlie Miller, David Sargent, Rick and Holly, Forrest and Lauren, and many, many others – so fun!

I spent the night with Pamela, and we drove to campus this morning for a memorial service at the chapel for alumni who died during the year. I think it was the first time I had been back to the chapel since John and I were married there in 1996. I couldn’t help but see young-me walking down the aisle with Mom and Joyce. I sat with Jerry Coker, then we had lunch together in the cafeteria later.

Hendrix is such a special, special place. I saw several former professors who called me by name – even ones I never even had in class – followed by a “where’s John?” I’m not sure that happens on many colleges campuses, but I am very proud that it happens on mine!

End of an era

April 16th, 2017

Joyce 1954

Joyce 1954

My father, Joyce Pipkin, passed away earlier this week. He was 93. He definitely had a full life – captain of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team, NFL player, Navy underwater demolition team (precursor to the SEALS), musician, and Reynolds Metals exec. He and my mom divorced when I was just a baby, so I never really knew him very well, but he was a card and will be missed.

We also lost my Aunt Jo this week, another woman full of life. She was 85. She always had a smart-alec crack and quick smile. She used to let me come ride her horse, Cheetah, when I was young.

John is in Suriname on a TDY, so I’ve had the house to myself this four-day weekend. I’ve been scanning, organizing, and backing up thousands of old photos – it feels great to finally tackle this project! And it’s been so fun coming across old photos – lots of memories.

Old Friends

April 9th, 2017

With Rocio

With Rocio

We were so happy to see two old friends this week! On Monday, we met our old friend Rocio after work. We worked together in Ciudad Juarez. She happened to be in town, and we were delighted to catch up with her! She’s still pretty as ever – her nickname in Juarez has always been Sharapova, for her pretty long blonde hair.

Then Friday, one of John’s old co-workers from Systematics, Leland, was in town. John took the day off to spend time with him, then we went out for a nice dinner together. He spent the night with us, but was out the door at the crack of dawn to catch his flight back to Arkansas. There’s nothing like old friends – they’re the best!

And, a friend from Tel Aviv is currently working in Juarez, and she was in town on a TDY working at our Consulate, so she and I spent the day shopping in Tlaquepaque yesterday!

It was fun catching up with all three of these folks – old friends are the best!

We hosted our monthly book club on Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. And with history repeating itself, Jennifer joined us – she used to attend in Tel Aviv, as well! Good times!

Phillip and Andrew visit GDL

April 2nd, 2017

Downtown Tequila

Downtown Tequila

We were delighted to host John’s brother Phillip and his son Andrew for a whirlwind trip to Guadalajara this weekend! We braved 10 miles of cobblestone road to get to the top of Mount Tequila, then hiked a short distance to the base of a rocky outcropping referred to as “the plug.” It was beautiful and peaceful, with not a soul in sight, other than the road maintenance guys who pointed us to the trail. After coming back down the mountain (trying hard not to burn the brakes out), we drove into Tequila for lunch at Real Marinero, then headed back to GDL.

We had a nice dinner across the street, followed by a mini-tequila tasting for Phillip before we hit the sack.

John had them up early this morning to ride bikes at the Via Recreativa downtown, then we met for breakfast at Dainzu, our favorite Oaxacan place. After that, it was time to head back to the airport, sadly. A quick trip, but fun!

Here are some photos – or click to see them all!

Phillip and John

Phillip and John

Thistle with grasshopper

Thistle with grasshopper

Andrew

Andrew

I made it! Mount Tequila

I made it! Mount Tequila

John, Andrew, and Phillip - Mount Tequila

John, Andrew, and Phillip – Mount Tequila

It’s starting again…

March 26th, 2017

Jacaranda petals on tree trunk

Jacaranda petals on tree trunk

…that time of year when people start leaving post. Our book club buddy Max left a few weeks ago, and this week our Canadian diplomat neighbors, Mike and Esther, left. We enjoyed a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon with Mike at a local seafood restaurant, where we ordered the fish zarandeoda (flipped fish), deliciously smoked on an outdoor grill.

Fish zarandeoda

Fish zarandeoda

Our friend from Pakistan, Marcus, was in town this week. He’s a big gamer like John, so he spent Monday afternoon with us (it was a Mexican holiday), playing games with John. It was fun to see a familiar face. We also had lunch with him one day at work.

Tuesday I gave a presentation at the Bi-National Center about women’s history month. It was so much fun (and in English, so I didn’t have to worry about my Spanish, thank goodness). The audience are English students, and they were very fun and engaged.

John and I did our Friday night dinner again, which was very good. We really like that little place.

Last night we went to our consular chief’s house for dinner along with the other consular managers and their families. I spent a lot of time talking to my boss’s three girls, who range from 7th to 10th grade. They are so cute and lively – and each with such distinct personalities. I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely evening with the table set up outside, and the weather here is pretty perfect right now!