Archive for January, 2015

That dreaded phone call

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

So on Thursday, January 15, I got the phone call that I have been dreading – Mom had a stroke at the beauty shop and was in the emergency room. I flew home to Hot Springs the next morning.

The last week and a half have been sort of a fog. The first week, I slept in her room at night. David would come in the morning to relieve me while I ran home to shower. After a week of that, I started going home at night to sleep so I am feeling a lot more alert and rested.

Mom’s able to communicate somewhat – mostly yes and no answers, although some things pop out of her mouth with surprising clarity. She can sort of feed herself, with assistance. She was doing well in rehab until she developed some bleeding on her brain, so they moved her to ICU for a day or two to monitor her. Now they are saying they will move her back to a regular room today. While she can sort of wiggle her right finger and her foot/toes, most of her right side is still paralyzed.

She was at the beauty shop when this happened; apparently, it’s not that uncommon for strokes to occur when the person lies back in the chair to have her hair washed – it cuts off the circulation and the heart has to pump harder. It’s called “Salon Stroke Syndrome” – who knew?

TDY in Monterrey

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Monterrey(borrowed from Flickr)

Monterrey(borrowed from Flickr)

So I’m here in Monterrey working for a while. It’s a beautiful city – the surrounding mountains are gorgeous. It’s chilly and has been dizzling for the last few days, although the sun is out today and it’s lovely.

The Consulate is new – it just opened last October and it’s beautiful. I’m working the visa section to fill in for a manager who left post early; it’s not super-busy since January is usually a slower month. The folks are quite nice.

I’m staying in an apartment that’s pretty bare bones, but it’s very close to restaurants, Starbucks, a mall, and – my favorite – an H.E.B. grocery store. It’s huge and has everything; I feel like I’m in San Antonio. The whole city is much more cosmopolitan than I expected; much more like the U.S. than anywhere else I’ve been in Mexico. It’s nice for a change of pace.

Last nice I went with some co-workers to a very nice steak place. A co-worker from New Orleans had several of us over for shrimp and grits this morning for brunch – delish!

Happy new year!

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Painted Redstart

Painted Redstart

Happy new year! We had a quiet evening at home – John was the duty officer so we couldn’t get too rowdy, in case any emergencies came up (none did). We were pleasantly surprised by a two-hour early release, so even though John had to close the building, we got off earlier than normal.

We stayed in for NY’s Day and just enjoyed ourselves. John organized the bookshelves – no small feat if you know how much John loves his books! The house is really coming together and looking nice. We are so glad we bought several rugs in Pakistan.

Friday evening, we had a very nice happy hour at our house. We have been wanting to meet our downstairs neighbors, a young couple with a toddler – both of them are Canadian diplomats. Last weekend at the gym, I met her father – turns out he was a Canadian ambassador to several countries, most recently Israel (he is good friends with the U.S. Ambassador, John’s former boss – small world). So we had all of them up, including the Ambassador’s wife – and our Consul General and her husband and college-age daughter. It was very nice; everyone had lots in common and they all seemed to enjoy themselves.

We have really been enjoying the hummingbirds. The other evening, I was talking to Mom and there were four all sitting at the same feeder! They are so territorial that I just couldn’t believe it! I have to fill up the feeders about every other day! And Saturday, John and I were delighted to see a Painted Redstart on the balcony (pictured above) – what a beauty!

Sunday afternoon, I flew to Monterrey to work in our Consulate here. I’m staying in an apartment – it’s pretty bare bones and sort of feel like I’m camping. Hopefully later this week I’ll get internet and a TV!