Archive for February, 2009

Back home in Juarez

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009


Family at Mom’s house on Sunday

After a great visit in Hot Springs, it was nice to get home to John and Flavia. John’s friend Russ flew in to spend the weekend in Juarez while I was gone – they seemed to have had a great time roasting coffee, smoking meats, eating Crisostomo’s burritos and wandering around the local supermarket.

Last Monday my cousin Lacey took Julie and me around to look at some lake condos in Hot Springs – sure would be nice to have one down there. We’ll see! I also had a great dinner with cousins Dail and Nancy – John and  I sure miss them. And I was happy to get Mike to cut my hair – he does a great job with my mess of curls!

I flew out on Tuesday, so it was back to work on Wednesday. We had a professional development event on Wednesday night at the CG’s residence with a woman from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). She also joined us the next night for book club at our house. We had read a book written by the CIS director, and it was interesting to have her input on the book.

Saturday was busy with two border crossings. We took at TDYer back to the El Paso airport early in the morning, then I went back for a nice baby shower for our friend Ali. Luckily they didn’t make me play any kind of baby games. We had a fun dinner last night with our friends Mike and Rebecca at Los Bichis. Mike is one of the few people I know that makes me really belly-laugh – always fun.

We had a meeting this week at work to talk about the security situation here – there was a shoot-out near the Consulate on Tuesday that killed a top policeman and his three bodyguards, then only days later the police chief resigned under threats – obviously everyone is concerned. What a crazy world.

On the road again

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I flew into Little Rock on Saturday afternoon for Mom’s 83rd birthday weekend. On the way into Hot Springs, I stopped at Alison’s gallery and bought two really pretty pieces of jewelry made by her sister. Alison is doing some fun work these days, too – as always.

The cousins came out on Sunday afternoon, with a special guest appearance by my good friend Leslie. We had a great time just sitting around and yakking and eating cake.

Our big excitement this week was the bid list – the list of job opportunities available to John and me in 2010 when we leave Juarez. There are lots of interesting spots on the list – it’ll be a huge task to sort through everything and see what we want to bid on. China, Brazil, India, Africa, the Middle East, Europe – hard to tell where we’ll end up!

The week in Juarez was busy. We went to our neighbor’s house Wednesday night to watch the U.S. soccer team beat Mexico. Thursday we went to El Paso to meet some of the Mexican diplomats from the El Paso Consulate – they’re a lot of fun. We also took a TDY’er out to dinner on Tuesday at Corralito’s.

It’s been nice to be back in Hot Springs and be able to take my morning walks outside instead of on the treadmill – I’ve seen deer, woodpeckers and bunnies – fun!

Cowgirl up!

Sunday, February 8th, 2009


I was livin’ the dream this weekend at a west Texas ranch – our friends Reid and Katherine invited us to their family’s ranch out near Marfa for the weekend. We drove out Friday night and came back on Sunday. Reid treated me to a horseback ride that I thoroughly enjoyed – he even rustled up boots and spurs for me. Katherine was a cooking machine, so when we weren’t riding or out for a walk, we were eating great food. They were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed every minute of it!

My favorite thing was being outside, of course. I got up this morning and went for a walk – I saw 14 wild turkeys and two deer. The sky and light out there is just gorgeous.

Reid and Katherine also had their cute two-year-old daughter Stella and their big ol’ cat, Max. Max is more like a dog than a cat. On the way out of town on Friday, we stopped at Sonic for a quick bite. We sat outside at a picnic table, and Max just sat in his cat carrier with his head poked out of the top to look around. He’s great.

We had a good week otherwise, too. Last Sunday, we went to Michael and Teresa’s for a SuperBowl party (I actually watched the game). Monday was a Mexican holiday, so we dropped off a load of TDYers over to the outlet mall, then sped back to Juarez to make two runs to the airport…then back to El Paso to pick up the shoppers and stop at Wal-Mart, too. Whew.

John’s great smoke-out continued this week with an incredible salmon. I am getting used to this!

Work was busy, as usual. Some of you may have heard about a Foreign Service Officer being found dead in his home in Ethiopia – we didn’t know him, but have mutual friends. We’re still waiting to hear what’s up with that. Very sad.

For photos from west Texas, including turkeys, deer, Max the Cat and Stella, click here.


Dinner on the porch with Reid, Stella and Katherine

Eating well

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Well, food did seem to be important a few days this week – Friday night we went to a Rotary Club benefit in El Paso with some of our Consulate friends. It was sort of a celebrity chef thing – 16 restaurants prepared their best dishes. We found a couple of places we want to patronize after sampling their dishes (example: smoked pork tenderloin with gnocci and sauteed pears).

I also made my friend Joan’s smothered cabbage soup this week – quite tasty! And we’re still enjoying the fruits of John’s new meat smoker – today he is experimenting with salmon. Can’t wait to see how that turns out!

Last Sunday we went to a friend’s birthday party for her little boy. She’s  a smart woman, though – she had an “adults only” patio overlooking the party below. Nice touch! We also made a brief appearance at a neighborhood child’s birthday party yesterday.

Monday night was book club – we resumed hosting at our house (which we really enjoy doing). We had a good discussion of  Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat.

The week at work for us was really busy. In addition to the hundreds of visas on my plate, I helped with a photo project for Washington and had our weekly Consular Leadership Day planning session. We stayed late several nights to help get through all of our cases. I also helped our admin team design a new work flow to try to speed up some back-office processes.

Between work and playing with our new netbook (love it!), we did have time to watch a couple of movies, including Burn after Reading (good) and Traitor (which I fell asleep in, not because it was bad, but because I was pooped!).

In the small world category, my manager went to a consular conference in Costa Rica last week, and met a girl at the conference who I went to high school with (Suzanne, sister of Steve). Her husband is a Foreign Service Officer and Suzanne is also working for State. Somehow the topic of Arkansas came up, and my manager mentioned my name. Also, this week on Facebook, I re-connected with a cousin who I haven’t talked to in years – turns out, we have a mutual friend in Little Rock and that’s how we made the connection. Gotta love it!


Visa applicants in line before dawn.