Archive for April, 2011

Good times!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Four-wheeling with Kay

I had my first experience four-wheeling yesterday afternoon with Kay – Mom and I went to Aunt Gusta’s for supper, and Kay took me out for a spin. It was fun!

This was a good, relaxing week. The only down side was that John left on Wednesday to return to Tel Aviv. He made it home fine, and reports that Flavia was glad to see him! We really appreciate our neighbor Diane for taking such good care of her while we were away.

Also on a down note, my in-laws Pete and Ginger decided not to make the trip to Israel this week, but hopefully will make it later on while we are there.

I pretty much ate my way across central Arkansas this week, visiting with friends. Last Monday, I met Leslie for lunch. It was fun to get caught up with her – we never run out of things to talk about!

Tuesday, John went out to Russ’s house, while Mom and I met Cousin Sue at the hospital for lunch. That night, we picked up Alison and headed to KJ’s for another wonderful meal.

John had an early flight out on Wednesday, so I took him to the airport in Little Rock and was back in Hot Springs by 6:30 AM (ouch). I spent the day shopping and then visited with Aunt Bonnie.

Lynn and Beverly, friends from my Nuvell days, met me for lunch in Benton on Thursday. Lynn looks younger every time I have seen him since his retirement! Beverly brought me a lovely pair of earrings from her shop Jambs, in Sheridan – thanks, Beverly!

Friday morning, I met Karen, a friend from college days, at Java Primo (Josh’s coffee shop). We yakked for two hours, then I went to meet Todd and Margaret for lunch at Rolando’s. Todd and I have been friends since high school and were at Hendrix together, too – good to see him, and hard to believe his two boys are about to graduate from college!

Click to see all of our photos from Arkansas.

With Todd and Margaret

With Lynn and Beverly

With Leslie at Juanita's

Life’s short – have fun

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

My golf girlfriends

Our R&R in Arkansas continues, as does the stormy weather! I think it has rained or stormed every day that we have been home, although I have to admit, I enjoy it.

John spent two days last week with his good friend Russ from college, who conveniently lives up the road in Mount Ida. I dropped him off in the morning, then picked him up in the evening (not unlike doggie day care) – I was treated to an excellent dinner with Russ and his wife Cathie on Thursday when I went to get John. They have a lovely place in the woods, with a complete menagerie of dogs, cats and birds, so I was in heaven. They have an especially cute puppy, Penny, who, as a stray, literally laid down in front of Cathie’s car – so Cathie, of course, brought her home. John would love to bring her home with us!

While John was visiting with Russ, Mom and I had lunch and did some shopping on Tuesday. On Thursday, I had a nice visit with my cousins at lunch at Bohemia. It was great to catch up with Kay, Ann, Julie and Melinda. It was also a treat to see Kay pull up in the Volvo – good times!

Friday morning we had an appointment in Little Rock, and made a surprise appearance at our friend John’s office for a quick tour of his offices after our appointment. Afterward, we headed to Conway for lunch at the Hendrix cafeteria with Ann and Pamela. The campus is beautiful – all of the azaleas and other flowers were blooming. I also got to say hi to one of my favorite professors ever, Mr. Kerr.

From there we headed on to Mountain Home to see John’s parents Pete and Ginger. They took us to PJ’s for an excellent steak dinner on the banks of the White River.  The food was really incredible and the setting is gorgeous.

We spent the night in Mountain Home, then came back through Little Rock. After a glass of wine at By the Glass (with a quick visit with Brian), we met Doug, Deb and Daniel at Sr. Tequila in Maumelle. I got to visit with them for a bit, then Bee and Kathy picked me up to go to a very festive party with my golf girlfriends at Camille’s house. Those girls sure know how to mobilize and throw a party! They are all such sweethearts and it was fabulous to see them all: Camille, Kathy, Bee, Peggy, Liz, Carol, Kelley, Pamela (in town from northern Arkansas), Rookie, Julia, Deb, Tiffany, Candy, Frazier and Karen. John joined us later in the evening, and after much talking, laughing and dancing, we made our way back to Hot Springs.

I found one of the best masseuses ever and enjoyed an outstanding massage this morning – her name is Ilona Peterka and I highly recommend her! It was really one of the best massages I have ever had, and is in a very pastoral setting – I saw a beautiful scissor-tail fly catcher in her yard.

Click here for all the photos of our R & R.

On a sad note, we learned last Monday that John’s good friend Carla from college suffered a brain aneurysm while at our friend Chip’s house last Sunday afternoon. Within hours, she had passed away. It’s incredibly sad – she was at both of the reunion parties last weekend, and John had a wonderful time visiting with her. She was definitely in her element, surrounded by friends and laughing – she will be missed.

John with his friend Carla

With Marilyn and Julia

With Ann and Pam

With Mary

With Mr. Kerr at Hendrix

R & R

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

We are home in Arkansas for two weeks of R &R – it feels great to be home and the weather is gorgeous (a bit chilly). We’re mostly staying at Mom’s house in Hot Springs.

Our timing was good to be back because we were able to hit two parties for John’s 25th college reunion. We went Friday night to U.S. Pizza in Hillcrest for a family night (complete with music by the Reverburritos), then to a classmate’s house for another party on Saturday night. Photos to follow soon! It was great to see so many friends.

In between parties, we had lunch with Mary at Faded Rose on Saturday, and enjoyed looking at her pretty flowers in the yard at her house. We also met up with Brian and Kelly later that afternoon for a glass of wine at By the Glass in the Heights.

This morning, before we left Little Rock, we had a wonderful brunch with Dail and Nancy at Bravo – we sure miss getting to visit with them – they are both looking great and enjoying retirement.

The days leading up to our trip were busy. I had the duty phone, but, luckily, nothing too crazy happened. The trip to the U.S. was long – we left our apartment around 8 PM on Wednesday night and arrived in Hot Springs the next day in the afternoon, gaining eight hours en route. We figure that by the time our bodies get adjusted, it’ll be time to head back!

Still in business

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

I woke up to good news this morning: I can still go to work on Monday! I’m so relieved that the government didn’t shut down this weekend, for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that  John and I have R&R scheduled this coming week, and we were not sure if we could still go if the government had shut down.

This was a very interesting and busy week.

Saturday late afternoon, John and I drove to Jerusalem to attend a birthday part for our friend Dave. It was great to see our A-100 classmates Dave, Liz and Mary. It was a fun party with yummy Mexican food.

Last Sunday, I spent the day in court in Haifa, representing the Embassy at the trial of Rachel Corrie, an American woman who was killed by a bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. Her parents are suing the government of Israel; one of the consular section’s responsibilities is to monitor trials of American citizens. Click to see the local coverage of the trial, which includes a photo of yours truly sitting behind Rachel’s parents.

Wednesday started my week as duty officer, which means I live in fear of the telephone ringing! So far, so good. Fingers crossed.

We were off work on Friday because of the Tel Aviv Marathon, which pretty much shuts down the downtown area. It was fun to stand in front of our building and watch 1000s of people run by. I watched for an hour or so, then went to the office to get caught up on work. I spent a lot of time working on an emergency visa case for a very famous Israeli singer, working with Washington to get computer issues pushed through. I finally got it printed so he could travel last night for some big event in the U.S. – I’m doing my part for world peace!

I’ve gotten some books and CDs from Cousin David that I really appreciate! It’s fun to get mail!

Celebrating success

Friday, April 1st, 2011

The highlight of my week was having my five students pass their test on Thursday! These are local staff taking a distance-learning class on immigrant and non-immigrant visas – we’ve been having weekly lessons since late-November. I’m so proud of them. We had a brief ceremony at the close of business to have a champagne toast with our department. One of my favorite students gave me a gorgeous pair of earrings that he made as a thank you gift, and I will treasure them.

After our toast, some officers and my manager stuck around for a while and opened a bottle of wine and relaxed after a busy week.

John took me out for a nice dinner at Whitehall on Wednesday. Thursday we had a happy hour with the RSO guys (regional security officers) at a nice little place across from the beach. John and I caught a new episode of “Law & Order,” which was a treat, and we watched some episodes of “Mad Men.”

Mom has had some weird things happen lately: a small airplane crashed in the field behind her house; she had some hail damage to the roof after a big storm; and a hit and run driver side-swiped her (she is OK). I hope that nothing else happens!

I talked to some members of the Bobo family on Tuesday night. Mike’s dad Ray Von is in the hospital in Dallas after bladder surgery – he is definitely on my mind this week. Ray Von and Liz were always so wonderful to me while Mike and I were in college, and Mike would take me home with him. Get well soon, Ray Von!