Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Old friends are the best

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

I was happy to spend time with old friends this week, starting with brunch at the Best Motel for Chuck’s birthday – great to have time to chat and catch up with him. Monday, Ann came to the condo and we literally talked non-stop from lunch to 8:00 PM – just wonderful! John also showed her how to roast coffee:

Roasting coffee

Tuesday I met Jackie and Sonya at the Ukrainian crepes place (yummy), then caught up with my high school friend Kelly at Trejo’s on the Lake – we hadn’t talked basically since high school! Wednesday Mary came for dinner and to spend the night; we had a wonderful time with her. Friday I went to lunch with Kathleen, the deputy director at the Arkansas Passport Center, one of the few Department of State civil servants in Hot Springs.

The week was topped off by a visit from our good friend Rick who we worked with in Islamabad – he drove up from Corpus to spend the 4th with us. We yakked on the balcony all day yesterday, then hit downtown today to see the sights.

On Bathhouse Row
Gymnasium at the Fordyce
Wooden dumbbells at the gym

The fabulous PeeWee dropped off homemade bread and other goodies for us to enjoy yesterday – thank you, PeeWee!

Hot as you-know-what

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

Lordy, it is hot here! It was hot last week, too – I feel like I’m back in Africa!

We said bye to James and Marybeth this week – we had them over for drinks on Monday, then we all met David and Alison for dinner at Rocky’s. Muffy came to Hot Springs on Tuesday; we had lunch at 1217, then hung out at the condo yakking all afternoon. That night, Julie and Scott hosted us for a wine & food pairing dinner – so nice! They made some delicious goodies and we had some excellent wines. John spent Wednesday in Mt. Ida with his friend Russ while I did some admin things around the house and visited with David and Alison before Alison, Peewee, and I went out shopping and had dinner at Red Oak. Thursday John and I went for massages (love Janet at Effective Massage); I had a great food truck burger and drove out to Gulpha Gorge to eat it. I had a fun video chat on Friday with my Foreign Service friend Stacie who’s now back in the States after finishing her tour in Africa. Yesterday was our first POA annual meeting – it was a good occasion to finally meet some of our neighbors! Afterwards we had Mexican food out, then went for facials (self care!). I ended the afternoon with coffee at David and Alison’s.

We finished “Homeland” and “Tehran,” and have been watching “The Old Man” and “Modus,” a Scandy series – although these fictional stories can’t hold a candle to the gripping testimony from top Republicans in House Select Committee hearings on January 6th, which we watched on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. It was jaw dropping to hear the lengths some people went to to try to overturn the results.

Friday’s announcement that SCOTUS had overturned Roe v. Wade was also stunning – let’s just leave that there.

San Antonio comes to Hot Springs

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

We were thrilled that our good friends Jim and Joan drove up from San Antonio to see us this week! Their stay was too short, but we got lots of good visiting in and explored downtown Hot Springs a bit – we really enjoyed the tour of the lovely restored Fordyce Bathhouse on historic Bathhouse Row and we picnicked at Gulpha Gorge. Who knew when we met 20+ years ago in our little neighborhood in Costa Rica that we’d still be hanging out together so many years later! Good times!

Jim and John at the National Park Visitor Center

Thursday morning, John and I drove to Fayetteville – such a gorgeous drive through the Ouachita National Forest – and had dinner with Pete and Ginger. The next day we went to The Momentary Museum and made a fairly quick visit to Crystal Bridges, primarily to walk through the contemporary art gallery and see the Frank Lloyd Wright house. The Momentary is also done by Alice Walton (like Crystal Bridges) and features contemporary art – it’s in an old dairy and the space is gorgeous. We had some great Mexican food for lunch (green posole!) and did some shopping at Dillard’s, then we made our way over to Phillip and Michele’s new house for dinner with them and Pete and Ginger. We headed home the next morning via Little Rock.

San Antonio was again represented by a visit from James and Marybeth later in the week. We had a fun dinner at David and Alison’s with them last night and I went shopping with them downtown today – and we had a lovely morning boat ride today. Julie and Scott had us all out for dinner tonight – lots of fun yakking and reminiscing, and, of course, great food and wine!

David and John
James and Marybeth
With David
Chairs inside the bathhouse cooling room
Gorgeous stained glass ceiling inside bathhouse

Bunking party

Sunday, June 12th, 2022
Happy birthday, Ann!

Last night we had a fun bunking party for Ann’s birthday at Muffy’s house – lots of laughing and enjoying being together! Muffy was a great hostess, as usual, and it was wonderful to catch up. Old friends are the best!

Speaking of old friends, John’s friend from Systematic days, Dewayne, came for lunch on Saturday. I left for Little Rock, but he stayed the afternoon catching up with John.

John and I tried Rocky’s pizza for lunch one day (delish!), and we had massages another day. I ran errands here and there, and it poured rain a couple of days (which we love). We got our visa applications in the mail for Argentina – fingers crossed there are no hiccups there. I had cocktails with David and Alison one afternoon. I tagged along for girls night with Alison and Peewee again – we walked along Bathhouse Row and through the Arlington, and listened to chamber music street-side (it’s the Music Festival week here). We finished the evening with Mexican food on the lake at Trejo’s.

Thursday night, John and I were glued to the TV watching the House Select Committee hearings on the January 6th insurrection. In non-fiction, we watched “Operation Mincemeat” (good!), and got caught up on “The Offer.” We finished “The Staircase” (unsatisfying ending) and we’ve picked up on Season 8 of “Homeland.”

All around town

Sunday, June 5th, 2022
Flavie in her new bed

Flavie decided she likes her new bed after all! She looks so cute in it.

This was another fun week! We had dinner with David and Alison on their lovely porch overlooking the lake Monday night. I tagged along with Alison and Peewee for their Wednesday night outing, and we ended up having dinner at Rocky’s – a Hot Springs institution, but somewhere I had never been before. It was great, and now I want to go back to try their pizza. John and I had fried catfish at the Red Oak Filling Station (new to us) one day for lunch. Thursday night we had a nice dinner out at The Oak Room at Oaklawn with Julie and Scott – it was fun to catch up with them. Friday night my good friend Leslie came for dinner. We talked and talked till we were blue in the face, and continued the next morning over coffee (our first overnight guest). We wrapped up the week with a fantastic brunch at Peewee’s in honor of David’s birthday tomorrow – with special guest Chuck! Peewee is a wonderful cook and hostess.

I read an historical fiction book about Hedy Lamar, “The Only Woman in the Room” – very enjoyable. I’d always wanted to read about her and her scientific inventions. Next I read “The Dung Beetles of Liberia,” a book I’ve been trying to find for a while. It was a fun read about a bush pilot in Liberia in the 1960s (based on true events). After that I read “American Baby,” a non-fiction book about adoptions in the U.S. post WWII and how many women were coerced into giving up their babies; this book followed the story of one woman in particular and it was heartbreaking.

We’re caught up on all of our regular shows. In addition, we watched “Charlie Wilson’s War” (a Mike Nichols film) and “The Darkest Hour” about Churchill. We also binged on season two of “Borgen,” a Danish political drama that we really like.