Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Good friends and food

Monday, January 21st, 2019

Flavia basking in the sun

John and I saw several friends this week – Rick spent Saturday with us, eating chili and playing a board game (Viticulture…and yes, I did learn how to play it and I like it!). We had a great time sitting around the table yakking and enjoying being warm inside.

Earlier in the week, we went to Lucien and Kelly’s for dinner (and met their cute kids). Lucien and John used to work together at Alltel back in the 90s. When we lived in Costa Rica, Lucien and Jackie (another good friend and Alltel/Systematics co-worker) were down in Lima, so they used to come up to see us. We had some great tortilla soup (and saw an Instapot in action) and loved being in their cool, art-filled home.

And last but not least, we braved the cold and met Chuck and Susan in Georgetown. (Chuck and I graduated high school together.) He and Susan used to live in Naple, and they heartily approve of the authentic Napolese pizza at Il Canale (it was good!).

This week was Restaurant Week in DC, where restaurants offer fixed price menus at a discount. We took advantage of it and went to Ris twice. It’s become one of favorite places and luckily it’s only a block away.

Due to last week’s snow, we worked from home on Monday. John was recalled to work (without pay) the rest of the week. State found some coins under the sofa seat and the entire Department will return to work Monday – at least for one pay period. Hopefully Congress can get a budget passed soon – I’m getting itchy feet not being able to travel and do my job.

Last night we stayed up to see the Super Blood Moon – it was amazing! Luckily we could see it from the window in our apartment and didn’t have to stand outside – we opened up the window and stuck our heads out, so at least half of our bodies were warm. It was worth it!

Ornamental cabbage in a planter downtown DC


Snow + Furlough = Snurlough

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

View across the street

The partial government shutdown continues. John was furloughed last week, while I went back to work (my funding comes from a difference source). I have to say that I have enjoyed coming home to dinner on the table every night, thanks to John!

John perfected a nice lamb dinner menu this week. We tried it out on our good friend Jimmi Sunday night, then again with Scott and Tammy last night. Delish! And we thoroughly enjoyed both evenings with good friends!

With Jimmi’s pup, Midnight

Earlier in the week, I had dinner in Georgetown with my former boss in Pakistan – she and talked non-stop for four hours, and could kept going had we not gotten so sleepy!

Welcome 2019!

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Happy New Year!

We rang in the new year at our friend Amy’s house with a nice small gathering. We met some interesting new folks and had a great time – we even stayed up past midnight, believe it or not!  New Year’s Day we went to my friend Matthew’s house for an afternoon drop-in, with lots of Foreign Service folks.

With Amy and Donna

Amy’s kitty Monty with his party hat

I was off on vacation this week, while John is still furloughed. Wednesday, I met my friend Wendy for lunch at the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington, a cute restaurant that donates part of its profits to animal rescue (it’s on the same block as their sister restaurant, the Stray Cat Cafe).  Later on Wednesday, Brett, Lara, and Claire came over for board games (we went to Brett and Lara’s wedding in Chicago in November).

John and I had shopping day on Thursday, plus went to the car dealership to pick up a new battery for the 4Runner. I’m on a kick to find a new laptop and have spent way too much time poring over the specs and prices, haha.

Yesterday we drove out to Middleburg, Virginia, to have lunch at the Salamander Resort. Middleburg is a quaint little town in the middle of upscale horse country. We poked around a couple of shops after lunch – nice to get out of the city a little bit!


A sloth’s HNY

Flavie doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

Merry Christmas and happy shutdown

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Good times around Neil’s table

We were invited back to Neil and Emma’s house for Christmas this year (I guess we behaved ourselves last year), and we thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon/evening. He cooked an amazing tenderloin – what a treat to eat his professional cooking. Julia and Richard were there, plus another couple they are friends with – such fun and interesting conversation around the dinner table.

With Neil and Emma


John was furloughed during the government shutdown, but I continued to work this past week, since consular operations are funded by the fees we generate from passports and visas. It worked out fine, though, since John cooked dinner Thursday and Friday nights! We had his office buddies, Adrian and Thomas, over for chili the first night, and our friend from Juarez, Justin, and his wife the next night. It gave John a chance to don his new apron – cousins David and Alison sent us both personalized aprons for Christmas – so cute!

John in his new apron

The week has been filled with friends. Saturday morning, one of the officers from Santiago came over for coffee while he was visiting DC, and we had a nice long chat. Sunday we went to brunch at my visa pal Val’s house in Maryland where we ate some great food, and enjoyed the company. I finally got to meet Rachel’s baby in person! Our old boss from Juarez, Roger, came home with us after the party and we sat around and yakked for a couple of hours – big fun.

Val and baby Scout

With Rachel and Scout


I heart New York

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

I Heart NY

I took this week off from work, and enjoyed goofing off at home on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday John and I took the train to NYC. We stayed near Times Square and the theatre district. I was thrilled to see four excellent shows: “Network,” with Bryan Cranston; “Waverly Gallery,” with the incredible 86-year-old Elaine May and one of my favorite actresses Joan Allen; “The Band’s Visit” that just blew us away; and “Downstairs,” with real-life siblings Tim and Tyne Daly. This last show was off-Broadway and in a small theatre, which was fantastic – and we had a bonus sighting of Tea Leoni. Seeing such great acting was good for the soul.


Belasco Theatre under the full moon

We had a special treat yesterday when our trip overlapped briefly with our dear friends Mike and Wayne from San Antonio, so we had a lovely pre-show dinner with them last night shortly after they landed – what good luck!

With Mike and Wayne

John and I took the subway to the 9/11 memorial site. We didn’t go to the museum, but we were really moved by the two memorial pools on the site of the towers. Each is a large square with victims’s names engraved on the edges. Water falls from all side and flows into a deep square chasm at the bottom. It is haunting and peaceful.

9/11 Memorial pool


The other highlight of my trip was getting a Ouidad haircut at the 57th Street salon, when Cousin Julie and I went 19 years ago! And I was super-pumped (pun intended) to try the much-hyped Peloton bikes at the hotel gym – they were fun!


Getting ready for New Year’s Eve

American Airlines sent me a summary of my travel this year – the equivalent of three trips around the world!

My travel on American Airlines this year