Archive for September, 2007

Studying and Having Fun

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

With Nicole and Sarah at Prom 

I had Monday and Tuesday as admin days, then it was back to school. I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and spent several hours by the pool reading and doing homework. I’m in the module on immigrant visas, and it’s interesting but complicated (at least to me).

We had a great Vietnamese dinner out with friends on Monday. Our neighborhood is dubbed “Little Saigon,” but we hadn’t gone out to eat here since we arrived – we’ll definitely go back – it was delicious! Tuesday we co-hosted a dinner party with our friend Richard at his cool apartment, which was a lot of fun. Wednesday we went out to Harry’s with our good friends Sarah and Aaron – Aaron is leaving tonight for Taiwan to study Chinese for six months, then he’ll go to his post in China. We’ll be sad to see him go.

Friday night was our “prom” – several classes of new officers had a dinner/dance on a Potomac cruise boat. Everyone got all dressed up and had a fabulous time – the DJ played lots of fun dance songs. It was an almost-full moon and the DC skyline looked gorgeous from the river. We still keep pinching ourselves that we are here!

The weekend has been a bit low-key but quite enjoyable. We met Richard and his fun mom Pat (visiting from California) at a yummy Indian buffet on Saturday. (We can’t eat Indian food without thinking of Sami at Star of India in Little Rock, who always said when John ordered his Taj Mahal, “Indian beer, good for the health, God bless America!”) Today we met our friends Kellee and Jim for a movie about a Panamanian boxer, Roberto Duran, called The Fists of a Nation, part of the Latin American Film Festival at AFI in Silver Spring. Afterwards we went to Crisfield’s for a seafood lunch. I’m 95% sure this is the same diner-type place Beth Saad and I used to go to when we worked in DC for RDS. It’s a local institution, and I had been wanting to find it again.

Back to school

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Now that I have finished my stint on the passport task force, I am back at the FSI campus for consular training. The week was pretty light and I only had to attend two class sessions (the first week of ConGen training deals with passports – since I have already had that module, I had administrative time instead). The rest of the time I did some work-related reading and started on my shots (Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus and Typhoid -yikes).

We had several dinners out this week with friends. One night, the Cd. Juarez crew got together again, since we have added a few new folks from the class after ours. Friday night, we went to a friend’s house for a potluck of sorts and got to see their wedding photos – they recently got married outdoors on a beautiful farm, and had their darling dog carry their rings in a little pouch around her neck down the aisle – cute!

I finally got a haircut this week – much harder to find a hair stylist than a doctor or dentist!

Here’s a shot of the B-Mobile back in action, after a nice detail job – I’m so happy to have her back in working order!!!

Busy week

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

A visit from Mike and Wayne

We were so happy that we had a chance to visit with Mike and Wayne while they were in town for a wedding! We met them Saturday night for a drink at Harry’s. As always, it was wonderful to see them and makes us wish we could see them more often. Hopefully that will be the case once we get to Juarez – just a short Southwest flight from El Paso to San Antonio!

This has been a busy week for us – I think we’ve had things to do every single night. Friday night we celebrated my last day on the passport task force at a party at a friend’s house. It was a fun evening – we got to meet some folks who aren’t in the Foreign Service, but who work on the “country desks” at the State Department. These people worked on various desks in Africa and they were very interesting to visit with.

The rest of the week was busy with a dinner out with friends going to Mexico; a dinner party at a friend’s house who is leaving this week for China; Scrabble night; and happy hour night. Last Sunday, we had some friends over for brunch and a coffee roasting demo.

Yesterday morning, John found a kitten in our hallway – she was so cute and looked almost just like Flavia as a kitten. She came in for a while to visit while the office called everyone in our building who has a cat. Fortunately, last night our neighbor got home and realized the kitten was missing, so all’s well that ends well. Noodle was not happy about having her visit! He continued to hiss at Flavia, long after the kitten was gone! Here’s a shot of the kitten – and a shot of Flavia with flowers, given to us by a friend.

Visiting kitten


“There’s never a lull”

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Our excitement for the week came in the form of an interview with a reporter from the LA Times. Someone in the Consular Affairs front office (i.e., executive office) asked John and me if we would be willing to be interviewed for a story about the passport backlog. So we, along with a couple of other people, visited with the reporter for about 30 minutes. You can read John’s on-record comment in the article in last Saturday’s LA Times and confirm my age while you’re there (thanks a lot).

The other big highlight of the week came earlier, on Labor Day, when John and I drove about 20 miles to find a Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart combo. Yes, it’s pathetic, but I am just not a Target girl, and Costco doesn’t have the big container of Ranch dressing mix that I need to make Leslie’s famous taco soup. I was happy…aaah!

Most nights I stayed home this week, except for a going away dinner for our friend Syllie. John went to a magic club meeting in Maryland, and he also had dinner out one night with our friend Richard. I met a fellow this week who is in the class behind us – he was the attorney on the deal when Fidelity bought Alltel a few years ago. Small world – and now he’s an entry-level officer like us.

A three-day weekend…ahhhhh

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

With our friend Syllie at brunch

We have really been enjoying our three-day weekend, especially after weeks on end of working six days a week on passports. We’ve been pretty lazy, and it’s so refreshing. We had massages, took naps, and I’ve been watching some of the U.S. Open tennis on television.

Yesterday morning, we met a friend at the Eastern Market – a big flea market, farmers market and crafts market rolled into one. It was a beautiful morning and a lot of fun. We bought some delicious redskin peaches and honeycrisp apples, plus, I found a pretty amber necklace. Afterwards, we went to The Mansion on O for brunch. I can’t begin to describe The Mansion. It is totally funky. It’s like a hotel meets a flea market with wonderful food. Brunch is served buffet style, and it just goes on and on, with very interesting off-the-beaten-path dishes. We spent over three hours there, eating, drinking and wandering around the rooms. It’s really one of the best days we’ve had here – and was topped off by a small dinner party at a friend’s house. I didn’t think we could possibly eat more, but somehow we managed…wouldn’t want to be rude, you know.

Otherwise, it’s been a pretty low-key week. I think we did one BBQ night up at the grill with some classmates, and John went to a magic club meeting in Maryland one night at a friend’s house. We watched The Pursuit of Happyness, which we enjoyed. I finished reading The Last Chinese Chef, a book my friend Joan recommended. It really made me want to eat good Chinese food – the descriptions in the book are so wonderful it makes your mouth water. The author, Nicole Mones, also wrote Lost in Translation.

At the Eastern Market