Archive for December, 2008

Christmas like I like it

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Ahhh. A nice day spent with John with a good breakfast followed by mango mimosas and several episodes of “The Wire.” Doesn’t get much better than that!

Christmas Eve was a lot of fun, too. We left work around 2 PM and had about 15 people over to the house for drinks and snacks. The last folks left around 8 PM – we had a really good time.

The rest of our four-day weekend has been great. I stayed home on Friday while John had a quasi business meeting with an old friend from Mexico City who happened to be in town.

Saturday, we drove to Las Cruces to go to the farmers market and used bookstore. It was cold! We drove home the back way and had a wonderful lunch at Chope’s, a little dive between El Paso and Las Cruces.

The work week was slow, which was nice for a change. John was visiting his friend Russ in Dallas last weekend, and flew home Monday afternoon. During the day, I helped a newly-arrived ELO get settled in Juarez (his social sponsor had a family emergency and asked if I could help out).

We are also happy to report that it looks like we have a new housekeeper, too, so life is good. Her dad is a long-time employee at the Consulate, and she’s working out well so far.

We’ve watched several movies this week. While John was gone, I watched “No Reservations” and “Blame it on Rio” – both very silly. John and I watched “Hancock” and “The Dark Knight.” (Pass on “Hancock” – thumbs up for “The Dark Knight.”) And I can’t wait to start Season 3 of “The Wire”!

I finished reading Ruth Riechl’s Garlic and Sapphires,” that my manager loaned to me. It makes me want to re-read her “Tender at the Bone.” She was the food critic for the NY Times during the ’90s and is now the editor at Gourmet magazine – “Garlic and Sapphires” focused on her tenure at the Times. “Tender at the Bone” was more about her life growing up with a mentally-ill mother who used to serve spoiled food to guests – very good book.

Batchin’ it

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

John flew to Dallas yesterday morning to visit with his college friend Stoker, so I’m batchin’ it this weekend. I amused myself by buying the Santa hat to put on our lovely statuette in the front yard – who says we don’t decorate for the holidays?

Yesterday I got a lot of work done on some long distances courses, then met a girlfriend for dinner at Los Bichis. Today I did marathon Sam’s and Wal-Mart shopping in El Paso. It’s fairly warm and sunny out, so it was a nice day to be out and about.

Friday night, we had Michael and Suzanne over for dinner, something we have been trying to schedule for a long time. They’re really nice, and it’s always good to get to visit outside of work.

Last Sunday night, we hosted an impromptu dinner for our Consulate neighbors in an effort to polish off the beer left over from the posada the night before. Success!

Of course everyone is bringing goodies to work lately. Friday, a friend brought my favorite thing ever: cilantro mousse. It’s so yummy. I’m going to see if I can get the recipe but in the meantime, here’s a link to one on the internet.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. I finished reading “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” which was really good, but made me really happy that I didn’t live in 19th century China with bound feet (ouch). We watched another episode of “The Wire” one night…that’s about it!

Getting in the spirit of things

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

We and the other Consulate couples in our small cul-de-sac hosted a posada last night – a traditional Mexican celebration. Our friend Lara was the mastermind behind it all, and best of all, got our Mexican neighbors involved. It gave all of us a chance to meet and visit over tamales, beer, banuelos and other goodies. We set up in our street – complete with fire pit – and everyone had a great time. The neighbors brought three beautiful piñatas – two for the kids and one for the adults. We invited some other Consulate families to join us – what a great party!

We had a good week, starting with a restful Sunday. We watched a couple of episodes of “The Wire” (love it), then watched “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.” I also started reading “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” at my friend Kristin’s recommendation.

We went out to dinner Monday night at Corralito’s around the corner from our house, then Friday night to Los Bichis for seafood. I have to admit that I’m getting a little nervous going out here these days (I go through phases with this) because of the security situation – there have been a lot of robberies of patrons in businesses and restaurants lately.

Speaking of security, the schools here closed early for the holidays because of the threats of violence at the schools if teachers didn’t cooperate in giving up their cash year-end bonuses. Thanks to that, our wonderful housekeeper told us this week that she and her family are leaving Juarez to return to Mexico City. So, the violence isn’t just running out the upper class (like the two families on our block who have moved to El Paso), it’s also affecting the lower and middle classes as well. Newsweek and National Public Radio have had recent reports on Juarez – click to read those articles.

Anyway, back to more fun things. Work was busy this week, but we celebrated my manager’s birthday on Friday during a quick break from the line. I’m working on two extra projects for work. John is migrating back to the immigrant visa line, after spending several months working half-time for the management section during the move to the new Consulate building. He’s gotten rave reviews on his work from management.

I’ll leave you with another photo from last night’s posada of a couple of the kids inspecting the piñatas before they were hung.


Dancing Queen

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

With Teresa and Michael

The highlight of the week was last night’s Christmas party sponsored by the employee association – nicely done at an events hall, complete with dinner, drinks and a band. I was pretty impressed with the band because they played anything from Mexican to country to KC and the Sunshine Band. We had a fun time! John looked great in his tux and red cumberbund. For a few more photos, click here.

We were fairly social this week – Monday night we were at Ryan and Lara’s across the street to plan our upcoming neighborhood posada party.

Wednesday night I went to a baby shower for a girl in the office. It was mostly the sweet local staff, and I always love being around them. You learn all the real office gossip that way!

Friday night we went to happy hour with some other officers at a swanky new restaurant near the Consulate – it was fun to unwind after a full 5-day work week.

Work is getting into a slightly better routine and the amount of OT we have to work seems to be declining.

John and I made two runs into El Paso this week – once Thursday night to buy a tux shirt for him, and again yesterday morning to buy a few Christmas gifts. The stores weren’t nearly as crowded as I thought they would be. We had a nice lunch at the Greenery at the mall – a good respite. They have a good brisket salad with red onions, avocado, and cilantro – yum yum.