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


July 15th, 2018

Gorgeous lunch view

I left Sunday for another trip to Bermuda – heavens, what a pretty (and expensive!) place. The water is so blue, everything is clean and tidy, and the men are adorable in their pastel Bermuda shorts (with high black socks, dress shoes, and suit jackets)! I flew in Sunday; Marcy and her beagle picked me up at the airport in her cute Beetle convertible. We had lunch at a lovely spot overlooking the ocean, then had a drink at the hotel pool bar while I waited for my room. One night Marcy and I walked around downtown during their Harbor Nights – they close the street and have music and vendors out, and another night we drove around the island some. Just gorgeous!

So blue!

Marcy and Freyja

The hotel is right downtown on the harbor, with yachts left and right. The owner is a modern art collector, so it was like walking around a museum with just amazing art.

Warhols of the Queen

It was a good trip work-wise, too. We had lunch one day at the Consul General’s house, and we did another consular staff lunch at an Indian restaurant another day. On my trip back to the United States, CBP let me observe their preclearance operations at the Hamilton airport (you actually clear U.S. customs in Bermuda, which allows you to fly in to domestic airports like Washington Reagan).

Click to see all of my photos from Bermuda!

Lunch out with the consular folks

I got back to town on Thursday late afternoon (I actually had direct flights to and from Bermuda – what a treat!). Friday, my old boss Pete and I had lunch with Erika, who was in town for training from our Puerto Vallarta office – so nice to see her!

With Pete and Erika

Saturday morning, we met our friends George and Melissa for brunch in Shirlington – George was in our A-100 class and we really enjoy visiting with them. Later that afternoon, we went to Maryland for a delicious BBQ at Emma and Neil’s house (where we spent Christmas). Neil is an excellent chef, and they are wonderful hosts. We sat outside at picnic tables – it was a beautiful day, and they even had live music. Neil had cooked everything from scratch, including strawberry shortcakes with homemade sour cream ice cream that was just incredible. Just a great afternoon!