Back to Suriname

August 19th, 2018

Drempel, the Dutch word for speed bump – you see a LOT of them in Suriname

I spent the week in Paramaribo, flying down Monday and returning Saturday. The flight back was grueling, leaving the hotel at 2:30AM and not getting home until 7:30 PM – but I made it! It was a great trip and we got a lot done.

Fruit stand, Paramaribo

Leaving Paramaribo in the wee hours of the morning

We’re so happy Rick and Claire are living in DC! Claire went back to England to see her family for a few weeks, but Rick came over for lunch last Saturday and spent the afternoon just hanging out with us. Today we all went to Great Falls and walked along the Potomac and the canal for a couple of hours – it was a beautiful day. We saw lots of great blue herons and turtles along the way, and deer on the way home!

Part of the falls

Rick and John at the falls

Along the canal

Along the canal

Along the canal

With Rick

Rick at the falls


August 12th, 2018

With Wendy and John

John and I went kayaking yesterday with our friends Wendy and Nick – Wendy was working in Tijuana while I was in Guadalajara and we became friends. Their subdivision in Falls Church has a lake, and they invited us for a morning kayaking outing – it was really fun. The lake was calm, and we saw turtles, great blue herons, a muskrat (!), a little green heron, and a snake! Really fun! Afterward we had lunch at Mad Fox in downtown Falls Church.

On Thursday, my old friend Lee Ivory from Hot Springs met me downtown for lunch at Tonic – we’ve been trying to get together since I arrived last year, and it finally happened! We had a great time catching up – the last time I saw him was in 2010. Time flies!

With Lee

Last Sunday John and I went to Rock Creek Tennis Center to watch the finals of the Citi Open Tennis tournament. We saw Zverev win the men’s title, and Kuznetsova for the women’s. Zverev is #3 in the world, and Kuznetsova is a former Grand Slam winner (French and U.S. Open) – good tennis!

Friday I took the day off and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I went to Macy’s and did some sale shopping, and got my nails done. I felt like a lady of leisure!

Full moon

Finally a sunny day

August 5th, 2018

It’s been quite rainy all week, so yesterday’s sun was a welcome (but hot!) sight.  Claire introduced me to a huge flea market in Courthouse – we had a blast poking through all the stuff.  I ended up with a lovely new pen hand-tooled by a former ambassador who had a little booth set up there, and Claire found a washbowl and pitcher – success!

Afterward, John and I took the Circulator (my favorite mode of transportation here!) up to U Street.  We had a delish Mexican brunch, then poked around some stores before heading home.

We’ve been watching “Sharp Objects” on HBO this week, based on a Gillian Flynn book we read several years ago; we also enjoyed “Beirut” and totally loved Patricia Clarkson in “The Party.”

Last Sunday, Rick and Claire came for burgers along with Rick’s darling, smart daughter Erin – we’re so happy to have them in DC!

Good thoughts going to to Mike Bobo’s mom, Liz, who’s in the hospital in Ft. Worth.

Liz and Ramona – doing our hairs, Hope, AR circa 1980

Liz and Ramona – doing our hairs


Honor grad!

July 29th, 2018

He did it!

I took the train (!) from D.C. to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Thursday afternoon to go see John graduate (with honors!) from the U.S. Army War College the next morning. It was a beautiful morning and it was so fun to see John graduate! I also got to meet his instructor and several of his classmates, and took a tour of the classrooms and grounds. One of his classmates, Willy, is from Hot Springs – he attended the same schools as me and we had a great time visiting. John was one of about six State Department officers who were selected for the distance learning Masters of Strategic Studies program back in 2016.  Along with the 400+ military folks who participated, there were also officers from other countries and other U.S. government agencies. For the last two years, he’s been reading and writing in all of his spare time and that hard work paid off!

Team Crippen takes the #1 spot in their war game final!

Waiting for ceremony to begin

After graduation, we loaded up the car and headed to Gettysburg. Along the way we stopped and had some great BBQ on the side of the road – yum! We watched the Gettysburg film at the visitor’s center, walked through the museum, and looked at the cyclorama, then started on a self-drive tour just as it started to pour down rain. The rain made everything look more haunting – it’s a beautiful place with green rolling hills. It was just incredible.


Cemetery Hill

On the confederate side of the ridge

From the Union side

Last night we drove up to Merriweather Pavillon to see the incredible David Byrnes – what a fun show! He played a lot from his new album as well as some classics. His voice is still wonderful, and he was moving around the stage like he was in his 30s – I was really impressed!

I had dinner one night with my friend Kelly, who was in town from Guadalajara, on her way to Abuja, Nigeria!

With Kelly

Who wears it better?

Hanging with Abe

Traveling girl, Harrisburg, PA train station

Back to Grenada

July 22nd, 2018

Fish stew, turkey stew

I was home over the weekend, then flew to Grenada Monday morning (the 6AM flight – ugh!).  The embassy there is tiny – one American and five local staff, so it was a short trip.  I like staying at the Radisson where they have resident (spayed) cats, and there’s a grocery store across the street where I can buy things to take for my lunch (there’s nothing near the embassy – it’s just a converted house out on a stretch of road in a residential part of town).

It was a long flight home – I left the embassy a little after noon, and walked in my apartment door after 1AM.

John is in Pennsylvania for the last two weeks of his masters program, so I came home to an empty house, which is odd – I’m usually the one gone from home!  Yesterday was rainy, but I braved the weather and did a bit of shopping downtown, but otherwise Flavia and I stayed inside. I binged on Season Two of “The Handmaid’s Tale” – enough to scare your socks off!

Click for more photos from Grenada.

This little girl came running to me and crawled in my lap

My driver in Grenada, Mr. Church

Lovely sunset

Grenada goats are everywhere grazing