Archive for October, 2009

False docs

Sunday, October 25th, 2009


False Docs with Death & Taxes (aka Teresa and Michael)

The Consulate celebrated an early Halloween with a party last night at the Consul General’s residence. John and I went as a consular pun, as “false docs,” a nod to the myriad of false documents our visa applicants bring us!

On Friday, my work group brought in a wonderful judge from Guadalajara and had an afternoon meeting with Chihuahua family court judges and other government officials who are involved in international parental child abduction cases. It was a great meeting, and a good opportunity for the local judges to hear from an internationally known judge who has been Mexico’s representative at the Hague.

The first part of the week was spent getting my regular work done and getting things ready for the conference. I had some, um, interesting clients. John took me to Corralito’s after work for a nice dinner on Wednesday.

Thursday after work, some of the local staff girls took me out for drinks and dinner – they are just so funny and cute! I’m really going to miss the incredible staff here. While I was out with the girls, John and our friend Jason went out. (John also went to the famous Kentucky Bar in downtown Juarez Monday night with some friends – while it was still light outside!)

On the Netflix front, John and I watched a couple of episodes of “Rome,” and also a cute, quirky movie called “Sunshine Cleaners.”

Old friends

Sunday, October 18th, 2009


With Steve and Fah

This was a great week for seeing some old friends. On Monday, our A-100 classmate Steve and his fabulous wife Fah dropped in to see us on their way south. It was so fun to catch up with them and hear about their past year in Guyana.

Also this week, Angie, one of our favorite instructors from ConGen training,  was in town. We went out with her and some other ELO’s on Tuesday night at an old restaurant in El Paso that’s sort of an institution (with good margaritas). The next night, John wrangled me an invitation to join another small group from DC for dinner, including another woman whom I really like a lot.

We were off on Monday for Columbus day, so John took me cycling in New Mexico. We went about 18 miles – it was so fun!

Friday night, our neighbors came over for a backyard happy hour. It was a beautiful night outside and we enjoyed getting caught up. Michael and TFran had just returned from their anniversary trip to Copper Canyon,  Ryan was the point person on the Ambassador’s last visit, and Meghan just got her next assignment to Tunis, so there was lots to talk about.

Then Saturday, the real fun began! John and I enjoyed our last visit to Carlsbad Caverns so much that we wanted to go back. We started with our favorite lunch at Geske’s in El Paso, then drove about 2.5 hours over to the Caverns. I was really looking forward to seeing the bats fly out of the cave at sunset, so I was super-disappointed when the park ranger told us they had flown early, and we had missed them!  We hung out anyway, just hoping to see some…and it paid off. After about an hour, the resident population decided to come out! (The earlier ones where probably migrants, who aren’t in the know about when they should come out!) It was spectacular, and lasted about 20 minutes.

This morning, we headed back to the Caverns for our latern tour. We went through another part of the caverns (the left-hand cavern) with only a tour guide, our small group, and candlelight lanterns for illumination.  It was really fun!   At one point, we blew out our candles, and I literally couldn’t see my hand in front of my face!

After the lantern tour, we toured the Big Room again – so awe-inspriring! Until I went to the Caverns, I never believed something could be so beautiful.

On the movie front, we watched “Away We Go,” with Maya Rudolf, and “Revolutionary Road” – both really good.


On the latern tour at Carlsbad



Welcome, Mr. Ambassador

Sunday, October 11th, 2009


John with the Ambassador

After our great trip to the conference in Burbank, we came back to the Consulate in full swing for the Ambassador’s visit to Juarez. We made advance site visits, went over his schedule in excruciating detail (only to have it change a million times), etc. before he arrived. I was in charge of the first event, a party for all of the entry-level officers at the Consul General’s residence. It was a great party, and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over. The next night I was the site officer for a formal dinner party, also at the Residence, for the Ambassador and some of the movers and shakers of Juarez. That, too, went fine. John was site officer at a drug rehab facility the Ambassador wanted to visit, and helped with the motor pool (no small feat).

To celebrate “wheels up” on Saturday morning when the Ambassador left our district, some of us got together for a great Mexican breakfast at Tomochi’s.

We also went to a party Friday night to meet a fellow officer’s parents from Tennessee – they were great, and it was fun to relax a bit.

Tuesday we got back into our massages, which made me very, very happy! I also ran to El Paso after work that day to fiddle around some more with my contact lens prescription. I don’t mind getting older, but I do mind not being able to see well!

Saturday I worked most of the day at the office to try to get caught up on paperwork; Sunday, too. It feels good to move files off of my desk.


Sunday, October 4th, 2009


With Smoking Man from the X-Files

The best part of the week was our trip to Burbank, California, for a conference on Darwin’s legacy. There were about 500 people there to hear some incredible speakers: Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett were two that I was familiar with because John has read most all of their books. It was funny to see them – basically your college professors – be treated like absolute rock stars. Bill Maher received the Dawkins award, and he gave a great talk (geez, he’s funny).

I had heard Eugenie Scott from the National Center for Science Education speak before at TAM, but it was good to hear her again, to be reminded of the absolute nonsense that creationists – sorry, I mean the “intelligent design” folks – are trying to have taught in schools.

And I heard some wonderful new-to-me speakers, like Lawrence Krauss who spoke on cosmology (not cosmetology), Sean Faircloth from the Secular Coalition for America, and Carolyn Porco (who showed some incredible photos of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft) – just to name a few. Other topics included stem cell research and the Inquisition (and how those techniques continue to be used today).

One of the other highlights was getting to hear the “Smoking Man” from the X-Files, William B. Davis (pictured above). He talked some about whether or not the X-Files hurt or helped scientific inquiry or if it had too much woo. He seemed like a real sweetheart, and hung out at the conference all weekend.

It was a super-busy week. I left late last Sunday afternoon to fly from Juarez to Monterrey with our local staff supervisor. We went to a conference sponsored by the U.S. Consulate there on international child abduction and how to comply with the Hague Convention. There were about 120 attendees, mostly judges who adjudicate the cases – very interesting. The best part was seeing several friends from the other Consulates and from the Embassy, including my good friend Cathy. After the conference ended mid-day on Tuesday, Antonio took Ashley and me out sightseeing and shopping. An unexpected shower made us duck into a great little Oaxacan restaurant in Barrio Antigua (old town).

During the week, we started working on logistics for the Ambassador’s upcoming visit to Juarez. I’m in charge of planning a party with the entry-level officers, which is fun. 

John and I also had time to watch several episodes of “Rome,” an HBO series that’s addictive.

So that was our week!


With Daniel Dennett, one of John’s heroes