Archive for May, 2008

The Border 101

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

This was a busy week – 4 days were spent touring around El Paso and Juarez to help us understand border issues. We:

  • Took an after-hours tour with Border Patrol
  • Visited a mid-wife clinic in El Paso
  • Took a Juarez neighborhood tour
  • Toured an immigration detention center
  • Toured all aspects of two bridges, including the inspection of tractor-trailer rigs
  • Toured two factories: one that makes Lego toys and the other that makes the padded fabric for car seats
  • Toured the Mexican passport agency and their Civil Registry

Socially, it was a busy week, too. John was still not feeling well last Sunday, but we carried on with a small dinner party for our friend Martha, who left Juarez on Monday. I also dropped by a welcome lunch for two new arrivals, Marwa and Al, who we knew at FSI.

Tuesday we had a farewell dinner with our friends Vivek and Bovni, who are heading to India – they took us to a good Middle Eastern restaurant, Al Zaituna – small, but good food and great fresh pita bread.

Friday we attended a fun going-away party for our section chief Jeff, who is going to Iraq for a year. It was at the home of a local staff employee, Martha – those girls danced all night, while the rest of us ate great tacos and visited.

Yesterday, John and I explored Las Cruces, NM, a bit – we enjoyed their farmers’ market (John found some local honey) and we had a good lunch at a little Mexican diner, Delicias Cafe. We drove through old Mesilla but passed on the shops there. We’ve spent the rest of the weekend getting things organized at home – we received our small, second shipment this week (kitchen table, etc.). Oh, and we watched Juno last night – very good.

Thanks so much for all of the kind notes about Noodle. We still can’t believe he is gone.

Ups and downs

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

This past week was kind of strange with Noodle being so sick. We spent a lot of time at home with him during our three-day weekend (Monday was a Mexican holiday) – he seemed to enjoy the fresh air, so we sat outside a lot with him.

John got the grill going last Sunday, and we had Martha over for dinner. It’s great to have the grill back! Monday night, we met some work friends in El Paso for Chinese food at Sam’s – it’s sort of a sentimental favorite with some of the officers who are leaving.

Thursday I celebrated my birthday – everyone was really great at work, and John grilled me a wonderful dinner. Friday night we went to Los Bichis for seafood with Martha – she is leaving on Monday.

After our traumatic day with Noodle (see post below) on Saturday, we were able to enjoy the evening with our friends Steve and Pat Petkoff from Little Rock – Pat and I worked together, plus they were our neighbors on Saddle Hill. We had a nice dinner at Billy Crew’s, just over the border in New Mexico. It was so fun to see a familiar face and get caught up on everything back in Little Rock!


Saturday, May 10th, 2008

We lost little Noodle this morning. His blood work last week showed his kidneys were failing – we chose to keep him at home in hospice this past week and keep him comfortable and in familiar surroundings. We kept thinking that he would pull through like he’s done so many other times before, but he couldn’t. Within the last 24 hours or so, he couldn’t walk and was just so weak, bless his little heart. He was certainly a trooper!

The vet in El Paso was really sweet and made the process bearable. We brought him home and buried him under the oleander in the corner of the yard – pretty much right where he is sitting in the photo above. He’s buried with a little eulogy we wrote for him, and with a container of his favorite treats.

He really was a great little cat, and was so happy the last few years! We sure are going to miss him.

What happened?

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

This has been a tough week. All of a sudden, we noticed that Noodle was pretty lethargic and appeared to have lost weight. We made an appointment with a vet in El Paso, and took him on Thursday morning (we were off from work for a Mexican holiday). Since then, he has not gotten any better – he is down to 6 pounds from 9, we are force-feeding him and giving him antibiotics for a urinary tract infection. The blood work shows that his little kidneys are in trouble. For several days now, he has just been catatonic but still drinking water and using the bathroom. We are so upset and don’t really know if he is going to pull through or not this time. It just seemed to come on so quickly – just a week or two ago, he was playing and mooching for treats.

On an upbeat front, Flavia emerged from her hidey-hole in the ceiling last week with a new, playful personality! It’s really funny – she is still her skittish self, but she wants to run and play and attack the fish on a string that Dail and Nancy gave her. Before, she was more of a “watcher” and let Noodle do most of the playing.

Workwise, things are still busy – the tide of people doesn’t stop!

We watched a great movie this week, The Savages, with Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. They are siblings caring for their aging father – excellent. We also watched Charlie Wilson’s War yesterday afternoon. (Noodle moved himself from under a chair downstairs to our bedroom, which is great, because we could watch him and a movie at the same time.) Oh, and last Sunday we watched No Country for Old Men, also good. (Can you tell we are happy to have our recliner sofa and big screen TV back???)

We did have a couple of nice outings this week. Wednesday night (before the Mexican holiday), two co-workers had a party – they are leaving Juarez soon after being here for two years. They invited all of the local staff, officers, etc. and it was a really fun, big party.

Yesterday we ran over to El Paso to do our weekly shopping and ran into our co-worker and neighbor Martha. She took us out to Canutillo, a little rural town just outside of El Paso for a wonderful lunch at an out-of-the-way place, the Little Diner – fabulous gorditas.