Archive for June, 2015

Laura Jane Pipkin 1925 – 2015

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

DSC_3023Hospice called in the middle of the night on Monday to let me know Mom had passed away. I flew to Hot Springs immediately and John came the next day. We had a lovely visitation here at her house Friday night and a beautiful burial Saturday morning at Caldwell Cemetery, where her parents and grandparents are buried. It’s near where she was born and spent her childhood. I hadn’t been there in years, but it is very remote, serene, and beautiful.

I’ve truly been overwhelmed by the kindness of her friends here, especially her good friend Sandy, the “girls” from Southwestern Bell and the neighbors. So many people have come by or called, and it’s just wonderful. David and Alison have been an incredible support, and my childhood and college friends Ann, Michael, and Pam have been fantastic.

It’s really hard to believe she is gone. I am so glad she was able to spend her final months in her own house and see her pretty yard outside and be with her beloved cat.

Click to see her obituary.

Rest in peace, Mom. You were great.

Laura Jane 1925-2015

Laura Jane

More rain

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

We continued to have more rain this week, some of it really heavy. I tend to like it, but as GSO, John worries about leaks in Consulate housing!

This was a good, but busy, week. Monday we sent a fly-away team down to Puerto Vallarta in advance of Hurricane Carlos, in case we had to evacuate Americans. Luckily the storm fizzled and they were able to come back on Wednesday.

Tuesday evening the Consul General had a “hail and farewell” party at her house to welcome the newly arrived officers and say goodbye to those transferring out this summer.

We started watching the latest season of “Game of Thrones” this week, which is a lot of fun. We also did some more board-gaming; Tom and Max came over Saturday evening and we played “Settlers of Catan” and “Paperback,” both fun games.

We found a nice Argentinian restaurant this week and had dinner there Friday night. John had a good-looking steak and I had cheesy eggplant Parmesan. We’ll definitely go back!

Mom seems to have had a better week – she even sat on the back porch for a couple of hours this week on at least one occasion. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will continue to go smoothly for a while.


Sunday, June 14th, 2015
Gardens at Jose Cuervo

Gardens at Jose Cuervo

We’ve had a couple of storms at night this week – even hail! There’s a hurricane out in the Pacific, so perhaps it’s related to that. Last night as we were watching a movie, the wind got so strong that we had to run outside and take down the hummingbird feeders. This morning it was nice and cool, and when John got up, he found the hummers eating at the feeders on the floor! There were about a dozen of them fighting over the two feeders – really incredible. While I was sitting on the balcony having my coffee and watching them, the pair of red-lored parakeets flew about 15 feet in front of me and sat in a nearby tree for a while. John said while he was in the gym this morning, he watched a beautiful vermilion flycatcher drink from the swimming pool – lots of bird activity already today!

Monday night we hosted book club at our house. I led the discussion of “The Brothers,” a fascinating book about John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen. John Foster was the Secretary of State for Eisenhower, and at the same time, Allen was the director of the CIA. It’s amazing how much power and influence they had, how little accountability, and how they shaped the foreign policy of the United States. They were instrumental in overthrowing foreign governments, and Allen was in charge during the Bay of Pigs. I’m usually not a big non-fiction reader, but this was really a great read.

I made a couple of trips to the hospital this week to see our friend Yazmin and take people to give blood. She’s still in intensive care, but her husband let John and I in to see her for a few minutes. She’s really been through the wringer the last few weeks.

Friday night, John got us hooked up with an English-speaking gaming group. There were eight of us, and we had a lot of fun. We played “Coup,” then split into two groups. John’s group played “Puerto Rico” and my group played “Lord of the Rings.” It was a total geekfest, but good clean fun. It was nice to meet some folks who aren’t related to the Consulate, too.

Yesterday John and I worked all day. He had people in working on the building and I just needed to get caught up. Afterward, we stopped by a fun taco stand and had beer and tacos. Later in the day I went to a jewelry party at Cindy’s apartment, then we watched a movie.

Mom seems to be holding her own right now. We’ve had more changes with caregivers – her primary caregiver had a family emergency a couple of weeks ago and is out, but the fill-ins seem to be doing well. She hasn’t been getting up in her wheelchair since she was so sick in late May, which worries me, but hopefully she will want to as she gets more comfortable with the caregivers.

How can it be June already?

Sunday, June 7th, 2015



I’m amazed at how quickly the spring came and went, and we’re already in June. The locals have been complaining about the heat, but the hottest I’ve seen it get according to my car is 88 degrees – but it tells you how lovely the weather is!

I was under the weather this week due to allergies. I think I’m almost back to normal now, but I laid pretty low all week and didn’t do much after work. We watched a lot of TV – we’re caught up on “Broadchurch” and started watching “Wayward Pines” and “Veep.” Friday night while John was at a work reception, I watched “The Paper Chase,” an oldie but goodie. (I love Amazon Prime!)

Yesterday the ACS team worked in an effort to get caught up – we’re really seeing a rise in passport demand due to summer travel, and we don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. It was a very productive day – it’s amazing what you can accomplish when the phones aren’t ringing and you don’t have customers to serve.

Afterward, I got adventurous and went to the flower market, a place I’ve been wanting to go. I bought a lovely bunch of bromeliads that remind me of Costa Rica. I loved wandering through the stalls and seeing all the lovely arrangements.

On a down note, one of the local staff from Juarez is hospitalized here in Guadalajara with a pretty serious condition. John gave blood for her (they wouldn’t take mine since I’m on allergy meds this week), and a couple of other folks from the Consulate did as well. I took some flowers to her yesterday (a lovely arrangement of roses) but she’s still in intensive care, so I couldn’t see her. I did get to meet and talk to her husband; he says she’s doing well and hopes to be able to have visitors soon. She’s a real sweetie and is very much in our thoughts right now.