Archive for September, 2009

Fun things

Sunday, September 27th, 2009


John dancing at the party  Friday night

We celebrated the end of John’s duty week by going to Corralito’s for dinner Wednesday night. Our friends Justin, Jason and Graham came with us and we had a great time.

John almost made it through the week without a major emergency, but the phone rang late Tuesday night with a report of an American murdered here. I got the case at the office the next day and spent much of the rest of the week talking to the family by phone and working with our local staff to get the body home to them.

Tuesday after work we had an interesting professional development event about Mexican children being repatriated back to Mexico – kind of the opposite view of what we do when we send American kids back to the U.S. We had members from the Mexican Consulate in El Paso and the Mexican equivalent of Child Protective Services.

Friday after work, the Consulate had a party, complete with a traditional Mexican band, costume contest, rope demonstration, dance contest and, of course, lots of food and drink . I didn’t completely understand the dance John is doing in the photo above, but it was sort of like musical chairs – and something to do with a broom!

Saturday afternoon we went down to Teresa and Michael’s for a puppy play date – we don’t have a dog, but they knew we would get a kick out of it. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time, watching six dogs playing together – all shapes and sizes.

From there, we went across the street to Meghan’s to celebrate Neal’s birthday with the usual suspects – fun!

John is off this morning at his first bike race, a 50-mile Chile Pepper Challenge!

Movie week

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

This was a fun week, in part because we had a holiday in the middle of the week – we were off work on Wednesday for Mexican Independence Day. We celebrated the night before with our Mexican neighbors, who had tables set up outside in the green area. They had posole (hominy soup) and zapatas – a concoction of beef leg cartilidge cooked up with spices and stuff. You eat it on a tostado with lettuce, tomato, etc. I gamely ate mine, smiling – then several of the other Mexicans were like “oh, no, I would never eat that!” So much for fitting in.

On the holiday, I had a great lazy day. We watched “The Changeling” (very good) and “Get Smart” (you just have to laugh) and started “The Pianist.” On Monday night, we watched “Taken,” which was totally over the top and fun to watch.

Yesterday I worked in the morning, then lazed around. John and I watched yet another movie, “State of Play,” that was very entertainnig. Last night we went to a party at a co-worker’s house to watch the Texas – Texas Tech football game – lots of fun.

I think all this movie watching is my way of being in denial about moving – I’m ready to move, but am not ready to actually start doing the work of going through closets, etc. No fun!

Just so you don’t think I’m totally worthless, I have been reading a bit. Finished “Infidel,” which I highly recommend. It’s our next book club selection, but unfortunately I’ll miss the discussion. It’s an incredible story.

A slice of life

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

We were off work on Monday for Labor Day, and John took me cycling in New Mexico – it was great! We went almost 18 miles, and saw ostriches, boer goats, longhorns and horses along the way. It was great to be outside! Afterward, we had a great Mexican breakfast, stopped at Barnes and Noble and came back to Juarez. (Tuesday’s massage felt especially good!)

On the social side this week, we went to dinner Thursday night with the regional medical officer who was visiting the Consulate. Friday night we went to a dinner party at our neighbors’ house. Lara made a yummy seafood pasta, using salmon her dad in Alaska caught.

We had two parties yesterday – a going away party for a co-worker in the afternoon. Last night we hung out with our Mexican neighbors who were having a cookout – it was a beautiful night outside.

On the work side, I did a prison visit on Wednesday to see three Americans.

On Friday, I went with a father who had flown in from the States because his son was murdered here. Between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I spent a lot of time with him (along with one of our fabulous local staff employees). We took him to identify the body, meet with detectives, sign a million things, pick out caskets, make arrangements for the body, etc. Yesterday, our last stop was the funeral home for him to say goodbye to his son – a very, very sad time. It was an intense experience, but good in that we felt we were really helping someone who needed it.

Out and about

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Busy and fun week, with several fun outings.

Last Sunday, John took me to see “Inglourious Basterds,” which I really, really liked – despite the violence, it was just a lot of fun.

Monday after work we had a professional development event with an immigration attorney – yawn. He was fairly entertaining, but really liked to hear himself talk way too much. He talked a lot about immigration reform, which makes me cringe because I don’t like the direction most of that debate is heading.

Tuesday was massage night at home (yeah!), then Wednesday night we watched Bill Maher’s “Religuous,” which was just great.

Thursday we had book club at our house to discuss “Statecraft” by Dennis Ross. Good book and good discussion.

Friday, the immigrant visa section was busy, so I went down to adjudicate in the afternoon – I hadn’t done it in a while, so I was a bit rusty, but it was fun. After work, we had an employee recreation event to watch a sort of intramural basketball game – fun to relax with a beer in good weather. After that, John and I met Teresa and Michael at Corralito’s to welcome a new couple to post. They were really nice and interesting – they were both in the Peace Corps,then worked for NGOs after that. After dinner, we sat outside at Michael and Teresa’s to catch up on our gossip.

Yesterday, John took a day off from cycling and we went to Las Cruces for our typical farmers’ market, bookstore and Mexican food tour. I bought some great bread at a bakery – very yummy. Then we decided to head up the road to Hatch for their annual chile festival – talk about a lot of people! It was fun, snaking through the long lines of traffic through this tiny town, and seeing all of the incredible chile ristras hanging outside. The smell of roasting chiles was everywhere. We walked around a bit, then came on home. John grilled a couple of steaks and we watched a “Law and Order” on television.

A very good week, all in all!