Dogs, dogs, dogs!

September 23rd, 2018

And they’re off!

Yesterday John and I went to the Wiener 500 – a day to celebrate dogs of all kinds, but especially dachshunds! The afternoon festivities included dachshund racing and a doggie costume contest. Rick and Claire met us and we had a blast! Click for all of my photos.

Flying!

Claire with Chloe the Bulldog

Last Sunday evening kicked off the annual RCO conference, where my eight regional consular colleagues (including my boss) come to DC for a week of meetings. John and I hosted them at our house in the late afternoon/evening – it was a great way to start the week in a relaxed atmosphere. Most had just flown in that day, and a few came with their suitcase straight from the airport. It’s always a treat to see everyone and talk in person, rather than by phone or email. My boss also organized group tickets for the Washington Nationals baseball game, so we all went to the stadium Thursday night, along with some folks from CA – it was a beautiful night for baseball, although I have to admit there was a lot more talking than watching the game!

I was in charge of organizing the myriad of speakers from Consular Affairs leadership for the week, and I was very happy that everything went smoothly! It was a lot of work, but it really paid off in the end!

Starbucks cup costume

Someone got in trouble!

Cool dude

Patiently waiting

So happy!

Terriers

 

Family & friends

September 16th, 2018

Brothers & board games

This week was full of family and friends! We had a great drive-by visit from John’s brother Phillip – he was in town for work and stayed with us for one night. We enjoyed having a meal together here at the apartment, then he and John broke out the board games!

Wednesday after work I met my friend Tammy for a glass of wine and to talk about bidding for our next jobs – bidding season opens tomorrow and, of course, everyone is getting anxious about it (I know we are!).

Thursday after work we had a well-attended A-100 happy hour at Circa. Several folks came who we had not seen in years – so fun! Afterward, John and I went to dinner with Joe and our good friend Jimmi at Ris (where we had an excellent meal).

Joe and John

Saturday we met Jimmi for lunch in Georgetown, then we went on a walking tour with the author of the book, “The Georgetown Set.” It was fascinating – we walked the neighborhood and heard stories about the people who inhabited the various houses back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s – like Catharine Graham, Allen Dulles, John Kennedy, Jackie O., Pamela Harriman and more.

Last night we had a fun (and tasty) dinner at Rick and Claire’s – she made some traditional English fare, including Eaton Mess: smashed meringues with strawberries and whipped cream –  yum!

Rainy Sunday

September 9th, 2018

The horrible heat and humidity finally broke Thursday night – we had torrential rain and storms all evening. John and I both got soaked on the way home, but the cooler weather behind the storm is very welcome!

This week was more or less a blur! We were off Monday for Labor Day, and we took it very easy. I was still recovering from the long flight home from Chile, so we stayed in all day.

Trying to pack five days of work into four just didn’t work for me, so I went to the office yesterday to try to catch up. I’m planning a conference for my fellow RCOs who’ll be in D.C. in a couple of weeks, so I’ve got a lot going on. John went to a gaming convention here in town, so he didn’t miss me, haha. We did squeeze in a nice dinner out on Thursday where I treated myself to crab cakes – yum!

Chilly Chile

September 3rd, 2018

A good find at the wine tasting

I flew to Santiago, Chile, last Sunday afternoon and arrived there the following Monday morning – wow, it’s a long flight! It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, which was a welcome break from D.C. heat. The mornings were chilly, and I was glad for my beautiful alpaca wrap I bought last spring in Bolivia. It was kind of overcast a lot of the week, but the last day was just glorious – sunny and clear.  I could catch glimpses of the snow-covered mountains through the tall buildings.

View from the rooftop gym at my hotel in downtown Santiago

Santiago at sundown

Only in Chile do you have seven wines to choose from at the airport lounge – and that’s just the reds!

Monday evening I went to dinner with the TDY consular chief and his wife – they are both delightful. Friday night, several of us from work went out for an excellent dinner and enjoyed several bottles of wine.  I happened to catch a nice wine tasting at a liquor store one night and got to sample several really good ones. The prices are incredibly low, even in the restaurants – and boy, what great wine.

My friend Carla from Pakistan invited me to the Ritz for a spa day on Saturday – we enjoyed massages and the rooftop (glass-enclosed) pool, along with lunch and a little bubbly. We talked so much and time just flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to catch a taxi to the airport, and I got home mid-morning on Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Pamela and her family dropped by while they were in the neighborhood – a welcome impomptu visit with them! The kids are getting all grown up!

John got a great “congrats” note from our Hendrix College “peeps” – very clever!

Thanks to Hendrix College for recognizing John’s War College success!

Today marks the one-year anniversary of losing the funny, wonderful Howard DePietri – what a great guy.

Pakistan 2014 with Mike, Ale Petit, and Howie at the Marriott Hotel

 

Cooking class

August 26th, 2018

John cooking crab cakes

John has said that since he’s finished with War College, he’s going to learn to cook, and I am thrilled about that! He went to a knife class at a local cooking school while I was in Suriname, and used his newfound skills to spatchcock a chicken (cutting up a whole one), braise, and bake it for me Friday night. It was delicious!

Last night we went to “date night” at the culinary school and we had a blast. There were eight couples. We made crab cakes with lime-cilantro cream, Mexican corn salad, pork belly tacos, vinegared onions, and chocolate mousse – it was so much fun!

At cooking school

This week I was in a visa class, and we were at FSI the first two days of the week. It was fun to run into old friends out there!