December D.C.

December 10th, 2017

The birds discovered the feeder!

The birds discovered the feeder!

This was a week full of friends, something I am so grateful for!

John and I had a great dinner out with Nina, who we know from our time in Pakistan. She is super interesting and engaging, and we were happy to have a good visit with her before she heads off to be ambassador to Angola.

Wednesday evening a couple of really fun guys from John’s office came over for happy hour at our apartment. We had a great time laughing and sharing stories over a bowl of chili. It’s so nice to be around funny, smart people.

Thursday I met Tammy, Amy, and Donna for happy hour – these ladies are hilarious and immersed in the world of consular work, so we had a great time trading stories.

Friday night was the Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, an annual event for my friend Pamela and her cute daughter Manuela. We met for dinner first at Hamilton, along with Pam’s good friend Duffy, who I really enjoyed spending time with. The ballet was beautiful with great dancers and costumes, and some really cute kids dancing, too. It was a wonderful girls’ night out and so fun to see Manuela’s eyes light up during the show. She’s just precious.

After spending a lovely day at home watching snow fall and our birds at the feeder, we topped off the week with a nice dinner out Saturday night. Afterward, we metro’d over to Clarendon for Jim and Kellee’s cookie decorating party. Lots of cute cookies, and I especially had fun visiting with Sarah. Thanks for a fun evening, Jim and Kellee!

Nassau

December 3rd, 2017
Lighthouse across the bay

Lighthouse across the bay

I had a fun and productive trip to the Bahamas this week for work. The highlight of the trip was staying in a lovely old colonial hotel (now a Hilton), conveniently right across the street from the Embassy. It was on the water, a quiet bay where the cruise ships dock, so it was fun to watch them come and go while I ate breakfast. They are so close, and it’s amazing to see them maneuver in a small bay.

Love old hotel where I stayed

Love old hotel where I stayed

Work was interesting and I met some nice folks. The consular section sees a lot of American citizens due to the high number of tourists, and also sometimes passengers have to de-board the cruise ships due to some kind of problem – and they usually end up at the Embassy needing an emergency passport.

I walked around a little bit after work a couple of days but it got dark early, so I didn’t linger too long. Most of the businesses in that part of town cater to the cruise ships, so there are lots of tacky bars, souvenir shops, and high end stores selling (supposedly) duty free luxury goods like watches and diamonds. Two nights I sat by the water’s edge and did some work while having a glass of wine – the weather was lovely.

Happy hour view

Happy hour view

I have to say it was a pretty nice get-away since D.C. is getting pretty cold these days! Click to see all of my photos.

John is in Fayetteville this weekend visiting his family, but Flavie was happy to see me come home!

Fresh conch for sale

Fresh conch for sale

Lobster fresh off the boat!

Lobster fresh off the boat!

Hotel beach - the ships come so close!

Hotel beach – the ships come so close!

Old church

Old church

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2017

 

John

John

We’re very thankful for all of our friends, many of whom we saw this week!

We spent Thanksgiving morning at home with the Macy’s parade on in the background, then went to a late lunch at a restaurant nearby with two of my old high school friends, James and Chuck, along with Chuck’s lovely wife Susan. I hadn’t seen Chuck since we graduated, and it’s been seven years since I last saw James. We had a nice visit and enjoyed the view over looking Georgetown.

From there we headed to Kevin and Helen Stewart’s house for dinner with them and their family, including Helen’s sister and mother. Friends Allida and Judy were there as well, and we really enjoyed meeting them.

We saw several other friends this week, too! We had dinner with Marjorie and Fauve on Tuesday at Circa, along with their six-week-old baby Ivan. Wednesday we met Edward and Barbara for drinks at the beautiful bar at Joe’s Steak House. And yesterday, Paul from our A-100 class spent the afternoon with us, along with his husband Bruno.

We’re really enjoying being in DC and being able to spend time with friends!

Paul and Bruno

Paul and Bruno

With James and Chuck

With James and Chuck

Curacao and Philly!

November 19th, 2017
Cutest license plate ever

Cutest license plate ever

This was a busy travel week. I flew out Sunday for Curaçao, a tiny island 35 miles off the coast of Venezuela that is a former Dutch colony. We have a very small Consulate there, so my trip was a relatively short three business days.

The downtown waterfront where I stayed was very pretty – the buildings are all beautiful colors, and cruise ships come and go.

See the resemblance to the license plate?

See the resemblance to the license plate?

The team took me to a very local place on Tuesday. Wednesday was on the opposite end of the spectrum at a swanky waterside restaurant. Monday night I enjoyed a nice dinner with the Consular officer and his family at their lovely home. The other two nights I walked around the waterfront and enjoyed the sights. Click to see all of my photos from Curaçao.

Local lunch spot

Local lunch spot

View from the Consulate

View from the Consulate

cruise ship

Sand infinity pool with cruise ship at dock

I arrived home late Wednesday night, with just enough time to do a little work on Thursday and get packed for our long weekend in Philly at the PAX gaming convention. We loaded up at Marcus and Simone’s house well before daybreak Friday and headed to Philly. John has been like a pig in mud at this huge convention! Yesterday the Ambassadorks (gamers who work at the State Department) met for a fun and delicious lunch.

While John was having fun gaming, I did some sightseeing. Friday I went to the Mütter Museum, a collection of medical oddities and maladies. Some might consider it grotesque, but I had a blast. There are lots of real specimens in jars, plus a huge collection of human skulls and bones. For example, they have some slices of Einstein’s brain and the tallest full skeleton from a man 7’6”. The highlight for me was seeing the actual liver of the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, and their death mask, which included their conjoined torsos. Really, really interesting. I was interested in going because I read a book about Dr. Mütter a couple of years ago. He was a teaching physician in the late 1800s and a pioneer in the use of anesthesia. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside.

Outside the Mütter Museum

Outside the Mütter Museum

Museum lobby

Museum lobby

Saturday morning I had an appointment at a Ouidad-certified hair salon, and had a good experience there. In the afternoon I visited the lovely Barnes Museum, where Robin Muse use to work. I believe their collection of Renoir is the largest in the world; also lots of Matisse and Cezanne.

Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation

After a full day of fun, John and I went to a local restaurant, Marmont, and had a good meal.

This morning I played in a Scrabble tournament at the convention. I didn’t win, but had a good time! I walked down to see the Liberty Bell, but the line was really long, so I left it for the next time!

City Hall

City Hall

Macy’s, with huge pipe organ and Christmas tree

Macy’s, with huge pipe organ and Christmas tree

Brrrrrr

November 12th, 2017
My life these days!

My life these days!

Wow, it got really cold this week! I had to pull out hats and gloves for the walk to work. It’s been a while since John and I have lived somewhere cold! Flavia was happy that we pulled out the electric blanket last night.

John and I went to see “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center on Thursday night. It was funny, as predicted (I have to admit some of the humor was a bit over the top for me, but I still laughed a lot), and it’s just so fun to walk 15 minutes and then be at the Kennedy Center. We love DC!

Yesterday I ventured out while John worked on War College. I took the bus (!) to the Mall and visited the Hirshorn Gallery and Sculpture Garden and the African Art Museum. I really loved the African museum and want to go back sometime to take a closer look.

John took me to the Tabard Inn for dinner last night. I went there back in the 80s when I was working for RDS. I just love it. It’s in Dupont Circle and is a working inn. It’s very cozy and charming, especially nice on a cold night! They also serve Mountain Valley water from Hot Springs! It’s been turning up all over the place lately (I also found it in Iceland.)

Tabard Inn

Tabard Inn

On Thursday I went to lunch with “my posse,” as John calls it – several really neat women from work. We went to District Commons (John and I also had dinner there Monday night) and just laughed and talked. I’m so happy to have friends again!

I spent two days in class at FSI this week (the foliage there was beautiful), so I made up for lost time by working in the office Friday (federal holiday). I got a lot done since there was no one else there!

Foreign Service Institute

Foreign Service Institute