Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category


Sunday, April 14th, 2024

We were lucky that Hot Springs was in the path of totality for the solar eclipse – it was really neat! Alison took us out in the boat to watch it. It’s hard to describe the eeriness that fell over the earth; I’m just so glad I could see it! Afterwards we went back to David and Alison’s for a yummy BBQ lunch outside. Later that evening, we had a lovely rain that lasted a couple of days – one of my favorite things!

Rick took off early on Tuesday. Later that day, we had lunch at Santorini’s with Carl Paschall and his wife Jane Ellen who were in town visiting relatives. Carl is also a foreign service officer (and ambassador); we met him back in 2009 or so. It was fun to catch up with him and meet Jane Ellen. Very nice folks!

I was happy to get back to yoga at Karen’s downtown studio on Wednesday while Russ came to visit John for the day. I repeated yoga on Thursday and Friday, adding stops at my favorite places on the way home. Yesterday John and I tried to drive around to look at parts of town we aren’t familiar with, like Mount Riante and Diamondhead, but were thwarted by gates – but we enjoyed the drive and catfish at The Filling Station. Everything is so green and beautiful! We drove through Lake Catherine State Park and stopped to see Carpenter Dam. In the early evening, we went downtown to see some close-up magic at Maxwell Blade’s theater – I was tickled that he’s put in this cool bar with an homage to the old Malco Theater where he’s located:

We finished watching the 2016 “War and Peace” and really enjoyed it – so much that we’re now watching the same director’s version of “Middlemarch.” I finished “The Covenant of Water” (wow) and started “Bel Canto.”

I’ll leave you with a few more eclipse photos!

Rick and John
Marybeth and James
Early part of eclipse (it’s dark due to the filter on my phone)
Almost there!

My happy place

Monday, April 8th, 2024

John and I left Buenos Aires Friday night and got to Hot Springs around noon the next day – it’s great to be back on the lake! Mike and Wayne are also in town and stopped by for a visit Saturday afternoon – we hadn’t seen them in years, so it was wonderful to catch up.

Mike and Wayne

Then our friend Rick M., who we served with in Islamabad, drove in from Colorado on Sunday to spend a couple of days with us. And James and Marybeth are staying with David and Alison, so I spent some time with them yesterday – lots going on! We also had a POA meeting for our condo association yesterday afternoon.

John was happy to have a game buddy
Um, there might have been a grease fire under the grill!

Last Sunday, John and I pulled out the bikes for a nice ride – Buenos Aires is moving into fall, so the weather is just perfect. Monday and Tuesday were Argentine holidays (yep, a five-day weekend!). I spent Monday working on employee evaluations and doing some admin work, then Tuesday Lea and I went out for brunch at Marti, one of my favorites.

One day at work, my boss and I met with two staffers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – it’s always good to be able to talk to Congress about the good work we’re doing overseas, as well as our challenges.

John and I finished this season of “The 3 Body Problem” (it’s fun!) and started “The Gentlemen.” I finished reading Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” for book club and started on “The Covenant of Water” – Verghese is such a good writer.

For months now, Flavia would only eat homecooked or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but lately she had been throwing up a lot. At John’s suggestion, I offered her some sensitive stomach canned cat food — she had previously turned her nose up at it, but this week, she devoured it! Her stomach seems a bit better and we’re thrilled!


Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Friday marked the start of the long Easter weekend and I’m really enjoying staying in and reading. It’s a lovely time in the city, as most folks take advantage of the long weekend and leave town. John took me to a very cool Nordic restaurant, Sal, Friday night — the chef had catered an event John attended at the Norwegian embassy and came home raving about the food. On Saturday night, Jill gave us her reservation at Anchoita; they open reservations a year in advance and they get snapped up quickly — yikes! It was our second time there, and it was also very good. We sat at the bar surrounding the open kitchen, which was fun.

I finished the very excellent memoir “Salt Path” (thanks, Joan!) and really enjoyed it, then read “High Conflict,” a really interesting discussion of how people get into an “us vs them” mentality. I’m now reading our book club pick, “Just Kids,” by Patti Smith. We’ve been watching “The 3 Body Problem” on Netflix — a local billboard says to the series’ aliens: “We’ve got more than 3 problems – are you sure you want to come?”

Lots of visitors!

Sunday, March 24th, 2024

This week was chalk-full of visitors! John noticed on Facebook that an old friend of his from Little Rock was in town with his husband (Don and Bo) and invited them over Wednesday evening. We had a lot of fun visiting, and Marina joined in when she returned from Mendoza. The next night, a co-worker from Monrovia came for the evening (Russell P.) and we had a blast catching up with him and the folks we knew in Liberia.

With Russell

Marina headed home on Thursday, but before she left, we took a tour of the Ambassador’s residence with the staff historian. Although I have been in the building a lot, I never had taken the time to really look at the details or learn the history, so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At Bosch Palace

Last Sunday Lea and I met at La Rambla in Recoleta for a pleasant lunch, and yesterday we headed to Obrador for an early happy hour. I’m not sure we solved all of the world’s problems, but we gave it a try! Lea also went with John and me to the Irish National Day celebration after work – we had a good time, saw a few folks we know, and listened to a good fiddler playing Irish tunes.

John and I ended a stressful work week by going to Carneros for a nice dinner on Friday. Yesterday we went to the egg hunt at the Ambassador’s residence and John made balloon animals for the kids – big hit again this year! It’s fun to see the kids running around, especially the little girls in their Sunday dresses.

At Pamela’s suggestion, we are watching “Fargo” (I think it’s season five) and like its quirkiness and actors. We’re also still watching “Feud: Truman Capote and the Swans” and, of course, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I read Britney Spears’ book, “The Woman in Me” this week and enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated. I’m not sure she had an editor, so it really just read like she was sitting in front of you talking. I know nothing about her other than the headlines of her conservatorship; I know a lot more now but still wouldn’t recognize her music. I also finished “Absolution,” by Alice McDermott and liked it a lot. And my good friend Joan will be happy to know I am finally reading (and very much enjoying) “The Salt Path” by Raynor Winn.

View of a bakery from the car
I love the green neon of this dry cleaners (view from the car)

Old friends

Sunday, March 17th, 2024
With Marina at Mishiguene

An old friend from Hot Springs is staying with us for a few days, Marina P., and I don’t think she’s changed a bit since high school! We had a great dinner at Mishiguene on Thursday and another great lunch at La Cabrera on Saturday. We’ve had a lot of fun catching up and she’s having a good time exploring Argentina. 

In addition to Marina, we had a chance to visit with Don H., an old friend of John’s, after John saw on Facebook that Don and his husband Bo were in Buenos Aires. They came over last night and spent the evening with us – big fun! 

Last Sunday John and I had lunch at Sarki’s, a fabulous Armenian restaurant – I really loved the food. Coincidentally my book club met there the very next night (we read “Lost Voices”) and I was happy to go back and try different dishes. 

We had epic rains here this week – it just poured for days! We were soaked getting to the restaurant for book club and it didn’t stop until Thursday. 

La Cabrera with their pole of lollipops