Archive for April, 2009

A lazy Sunday

Sunday, April 26th, 2009


Indian food with friends

After a busy and fun week, it’s great to lie around on a nice Sunday afternoon. John is outside smoking a backstrap of deer that our friend Reid gave us. Flavia is curled up sound asleep in her favorite chair. I’ve been trying to conquer the more difficult Sudoku puzzles without a lot of success.

It was a good week at work. I spent two days at a passport fraud conference in El Paso that was interesting, plus I got to see a few old friends from DC. John met me over there Tuesday night for dinner at Geske’s with our friend Sarah from Tijuana and Nicole from Mexico City.

When I came back to the office, I found out that I have a six-month rotation assignment in American Citizen Services, something that I have been wanting for a long time. I’ll start May 4th, and can’t wait! I also got assigned to work on our web pages until then, updating them and doing some re-design – which I really enjoy doing – so much so that I worked most of Saturday.

Last Sunday John smoked a couple of chickens and we took one to Reid and Katherine – we got to see their cute new baby, Teddy. We went back to Los Bichis with the WAEers (the retirees) Friday after work. They are so funny and I really enjoy being around them. Then last night, we met some friends at an Indian restaurant in El Paso – really good food. It was a lot of fun and a good change of pace.

This week, our friend Ali at work had a birthday, so her friends made here a nearly life-size cutout of her favorite soccer player. These are some of our very favorite girls in the office.


The hummers return

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

We’re starting to see signs of spring here in Juarez – the hummingbirds came back this week! I was tickled to see a pair at our feeder. The nights are still down in the 40s, but days have been sunny in the 70s.

We took last Monday off from work, which was nice and relaxing. I spent most of the day in El Paso, shopping and getting highlights in my hair. Our neighbor Michael came down for happy hour.

The week was pretty slow at work, giving me some much-needed time to work on my employee evaluation. John and I both are very happy with our reviews from our bosses. Right now we are finishing up the personal statement section, then they’ll be ready to turn in.

Friday after work, we organized a group of WAEers (the retirees who are here to work with us) for dinner at Los Bichis. They are a lot of fun, and as I have mentioned before, have such a wealth of experience and stories. We went to El Paso yesterday to pick up another WAEer at the airport and got him settled in his hotel here in Juarez.

Last night, we had dinner with Michael and Teresa at Corralito’s – nice evening.

We’ve been watching the last season of “The Wire” this week – I’ll be sorry to finish it, it’s so good.

A slight change in plans

Sunday, April 12th, 2009


We were supposed to leave Wednesday afternoon to spend the weekend in Chiapas – long story short, the travel gods just weren’t with us, and in the end we opted not to go. When we got to the airport, a huge factory fire was raging across the street and the airport was evacuated. Our friends worked frantically to re-book all of our arrangments and when we went to bed, we thought we were leaving the following morning. Alas, they woke us up around 9:30 PM to say that our return flight had been cancelled. At that point, John and I decided to bow out and go to Plan B.

Plan B was fun! On Friday, we drove up to White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. It was beautifully eerie. On the way home, we found a great little Mexican restaurant in Las Cruces, and, of course, stopped by Coas bookstore.

Saturday morning, we headed to Alpine, Texas, just up the road from Marfa. It’s a sleepy little town and we just goofed off, shopping and eating. We spent the night, and drove back to Juarez this morning. The drive home was beautiful, up through Fort Davis, by the McDonald Observatory, through winding mountain roads.

Last Sunday, John wasn’t feeling well, so I trekked over to El Paso for shopping and to pick up a TDYer at the airport. I finally realized on the way home that I had met this gentleman before – he gave a Foreign Service exam prep session that I attended back when John and I were first trying to get in. He and I stopped by a co-worker’s chili supper on the way to his hotel – yummy.

Monday night, Teresa and I co-hosted a Final Four basketball party. I made a big pot of ancho chile-pork stew and we yakked and pretended to watch the game.

Tuesday was our first day of a new process at work – I’ve been doing the training classes to get ready for it. It went smoothly, and it was a light day. After work, we had a professional development event with a DEA agent – interesting.

On a sad note, Mom had to put her cat Baby to sleep this week. He was 17 years old – she had found him under a bush when he was a kitten. Two days later, our neighbors Michael and Teresa had to put their dog Patty to sleep. So hard to lose a pet.

Rocking along

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Mom called this week and asked if we had come down from the clouds yet about getting our next assignment – the answer is “no!” We are still in shock and so excited! John has already gotten several books about Israel and is immersed in reading about Israeli history.

This was another busy week. Last Sunday morning, our Mexican friends Juan and Gloria invited us to breakfast at their house. We had a great time visiting with them, along with Martha and Enrique. Gloria fixed a traditional Mexican breakfast with homemade tortillas, chilaquiles, beans, fresh orange juice and an egg dish – it was all delicious (especially those tortillas). We really enjoyed the morning.

Monday night was book club – our book this month was a departure from non-fiction, The Ugly American. Great choice with a lively discussion.

Much of the week was spent staying late at work to get ready for a class I gave on Friday. We’re moving to a new process where visa applicants will go to a contractor to have fingerprints and photos taken before they arrive at the Consulate. We’re one of the first to move to this model, so it’s pretty exciting. It will also mean that one day a week, I won’t have to just take fingerprints all day and I can get back to interviewing. This has been a duty that we rotate, and not especially fun. Friday’s class went well.

Friday night, we went to Los Bichis to celebrate John’s excellent annual employee evaluation. These evaluations are a constant source of stress for us all. Right now, the principal officer has both of ours on his desk for final review. Fingers crossed!

Saturday morning, we got up early to work as control officers for three U.S. representatives who came to Juarez for a security briefing at the Consulate. We had a motorcade of six vehicles to bring them to and from the office. We had not been in a motorcade before, and it was fun to whiz through the streets of Juarez with police escorts clearing the way. The motorcycle cops here drive pretty crazy, tapping on windows of cars warning them to get out of the way. Wish I had a motorcade everywhere I went!

We watched “Quantum of Solace,” the latest James Bond movie last night, and also got in several episodes of “The Wire” during the week. We love “The Wire”!

I wish I could have been back at Hendrix for alumni weekend – I loved seeing photos of the Galloway Hall reunion!