In denial

June 18th, 2017

I am firmly in denial about leaving, and pretty much doing everything I can not to start organizing for packout. I am giving a speech next week, and I’ve spent a lot of time working on it during the last few weekends – it’s a great excuse for not tackling the kitchen pantry. And the new season of “House of Cards” is out, so who can blame me for not venturing into the guest bedroom closet, where unused items go to die?

The move to D.C. is a lot more complicated because we will be moving into a smaller apartment than where we are now (this place is ginormous)…so that means we need to organize stuff to be packed into what goes to the new place and what gets shoved into storage. That’s a lot of mental calculus for me! And at this point, we don’t know where we will be living, and how much cabinet space we’ll have, for example. So, it’s way easier to watch “House of Cards”!

We had this lovely bench made, and it was delivered to us this week from Tlaquepaque. The fabric is Guatemalan, and the design is a woman standing arms akimbo. Love it. (And yes, I did just say that we are moving into a much smaller apartment, thank you.)

Our new bench

Our new bench

John left this week for his residence course at Army War College. He flew up on Sunday with a stop in Arkansas first to see Pete and Ginger, then he spent a few days in Washington DC for consultations with his new office. He met with a realtor and toured several apartment buildings that are candidates for us to live in, so we spent a lot of time yesterday talking on the phone and looking at apartment websites. It looks like there are some good options for the area we want to live in.

I went out Wednesday evening after teaching the guards’ English class for happy hour with my boss and his wife and two other women I work with. We had a great time sitting outdoors looking over the busy street below and having a drink together. I’ve met some really great people here and I’m going to miss working with them, especially my boss Pete.

Yesterday was Pete and Ginger’s 56th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to the best in-laws a girl could have!

It’s finally rainy season!

June 11th, 2017

Rainy season officially started this week, with several late afternoon showers and nighttime storms. I just love it. We were at a going-away party yesterday for our law enforcement colleagues and we had an incredible storm, including hail – fun!

We hosted book club on Thursday to discuss “The Billion Dollar Spy,” a true story set during the Cold War. It is an incredible story, and we had a lively discussion about it. At the end of the evening, John treated us to a spy-themed magic trick that was a big hit!

John at book club

John at book club

John left this morning for his three-city tour – Fayetteville, Arkansas, to see his parents; Washington D.C. for a few days of work; and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for a two-week War College program.

I was excited to get a surprise in the mail this week – a book just published by my photography teacher in Tel Aviv, Rinat Halon. I have no idea how she got my address, but I was happy to get a copy of her book! Thanks, Rinat!

Thanks, Rinat!

Thanks, Rinat!

Ready for rain

June 4th, 2017
Evil trees

Evil trees

May is the hottest month in Guadalajara, right before rainy season, and boy, am I ready for rain! My car showed the temp at 96 degrees yesterday. To top it off these beautiful yellow trees are blooming, and I am allergic to them, so I’ve been sneezing and generally uncomfortable the last few days. This photo was actually taken in Pakistan, but they are abundant here, too. So pretty, but so evil!

We were sad to leave Oaxaca Monday afternoon. We did some last minute shopping and had lunch on the zocolo¬†before we left. My lunch was beautiful! I also want to point out my favorite handbag to take shopping. It was given to me by my dear friend Cathy when she was in Burundi. It’s big and hands-free – perfect for shopping!

Winner, best food presentation

Winner, best food presentation

Serious shopping bag

Serious shopping bag

We love Oaxaca!

We love Oaxaca!

Oaxaca, how I love you!

May 28th, 2017
In the old chapel

In the old chapel

John and I slipped down to Oaxaca for a long weekend – we were here almost 20 years ago, but we had forgotten just how much we loved the city. It’s gorgeous and about the same altitude as Guadalajara, so the weather is nice – in fact, it’s been a bit rainy, which we enjoy immensely.

There’s so much to see and do, it’s impossible to describe, so let’s do it in pictures. First, the hotel – a former convent, built in the 16th century – just lovely.

The old chapel at our hotel

The old chapel at our hotel

Hotel gardens

Hotel gardens

We spent Saturday in a cooking class – just the two of us. It felt like we were in an aunt’s kitchen. We made tortillas, salsas, stuffed chiles, and guacamole – all delicious!

Making tortillas with Esperanza

Making tortillas with Esperanza

Cheese, squash blossoms, and chiles

Cheese, squash blossoms, and chiles

Chiles

Chiles

The cultural museum attached to the church here is just incredible – chock full of pre-Colombian artifacts, but the building is the real attraction.

Wall, Cultural Museum

Wall, Cultural Museum

Ceiling, Cultural Museum

Ceiling, Cultural Museum

Fresco

Fresco

Ceiling

Ceiling

Skull with turquoise

Skull with turquoise

And the food! Just incredible.

Chiles de Abuja stuffed with ceviche

Chiles de Agua stuffed with ceviche

Making salsa table side

Making salsa table side

The textiles are probably my favorite, and were beautifully displayed in a lovely museum – and in every shop!IMG_1189

Textile museum

Textile museum

Textile museum

Textile museum

The light here makes it seem magical. Here’s a very handsome photo I took of John. We were sitting in La Casa de La Abuela restaurant, overlooking the zocalo – que guapo!

Handsome John

Handsome John

John found a little coffee shop he likes a lot – La Brujula. They have fun graphics.

I'll sleep when I die

I’ll sleep when I die

I’ll leave you with some more images. Click to see all photos.

Cactus bloom

Cactus bloom

Casa Oaxaca

Casa Oaxaca

Tile floor - bats

Tile floor – bats

Tile floor - skulls

Tile floor – skulls

Church

Church

Hotel grounds

Hotel grounds

Hotel grounds

Hotel grounds

Buying tortillas in the market

Buying tortillas in the market

View from museum

View from museum

View from museum

View from museum

Cultural museum

Cultural museum

Beautiful girls

Beautiful girls

A week at the beach, and a bonus friend!

May 21st, 2017
Pelicans

Pelicans

John and I flew together from Little Rock to Houston, then parted ways…he headed home to Guadalajara and I headed to Puerto Vallarta to run our office down there for the week. We had a very busy week, handling routine passport and citizenship cases, plus we helped repatriate a young man back to the United States. It was a complicated case, so I went with him to the airport to be sure everything was ok.

Back at the office, I took the guys out to lunch to say goodbye since I likely won’t see them in person again. I think we all got a little teary-eyed. They have been so professional yet so fun. Erika was on maternity leave, but came to the office to say hello and let me meet her baby. What a great team.

With Hector and Fernando

With Hector and Fernando

During the week, I ate almost every meal from the back of Fatima’s food truck – literally her pick-up truck filled with her home cooked food. I would get lunch to eat at the office, then get a to-go box to take back to the hotel for dinner. Thank you, Fatima!

With Fatima

With Fatima

I also had another incredible meal and visit with Allyn, my college friend, and his husband Scotty. It’s always so fun to go to their apartment with its gorgeous view of the ocean, then go to their latest favorite restaurant- this time, Cafe Naranja. We were so busy having fun that I forgot to take a photo!

When I got home Friday night, our good friend Kelly from Seattle was at the house. So good to see an old friend! We had a nice dinner at Cortazar and walked around downtown a bit. (John had taken her to Tequila for the day.)

John and Kelly

John and Kelly

Saturday the three of us went to Tlaquepaque to go shopping. John and I picked out fabric for a groovy bench. The fabric is hand embroidered in Guatemala – usually used for shirts. I can’t wait to get it! I also picked up a purse I had ordered – it took me three years to convince the designer David Luna to make the purse and add a strap. It’s almost been a running joke, but I finally got what I wanted!

 

Kelly at the Palace of the Government

Kelly at the Palace of the Government

Today we had a delicious breakfast with Kelly at Dainzu, then we went downtown to the Centro. We went first to Las Cabanas to see the lovely Orozco murals, then we walked through the cathedral and the the Palace of the Government, where there’s another cool Orozco. We then went to the art museum to see a Tamayo exhibit, and finally ended the day with a late lunch at La Tequila, a Guadalajara staple. What a great day – John and Kelly are unwinding with a gaming session so I think this visit was a success!