Archive for January, 2013

Short week

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Old Hot Springs Postcard

This was a  short week for us – Monday was the American holiday for Martin Luther King Day and Friday was the Pakistani holiday for the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). John and I celebrated MLK Day by going to play board games at Brett’s house, along with Antonio. We played “Pandemic” and “Settlers of Catan.” These strategy board games are new to me, but I did enjoy them. John and Scott have really been getting into them.

Friday, I went to work to get my desk cleaned off and John continued his board game mania by playing an all day round of “Diplomacy” (another game) with some of the guys from work. He had a big time! That evening, we went to Joseph’s house for a great Tex-Mex dinner, with delicious carne asada and margaritas.

In between the two holiday, we crammed five days of work into three days. My section is returning to normal with two employees back from their R&Rs, so for about a week we will be fully staffed.

Last Sunday, we pampered ourselves at the local spa, then went over to Konstantin’s for a roof-top pizza party. His lovely wife Carolyn (an A100 classmate of ours) was here visiting, and she brought their two dogs with her. The dogs will stay, and she’ll return to take up her post here in a month or two.

Wednesday I had lunch with my friend Barbara from the German Embassy. We had a good time yakking.

Yesterday John and I were pooped. We  stayed home all day and had a “Justified”-fest. We’ve really been enjoying the series. (Since it takes place in Kentucky, I bought some bourbon to sip on while we watch!) We’ve also enjoyed watching our college friend Bill Ragsdale in his recurring role in the show.


Saturday, January 19th, 2013

The first part of the week, I was stuck at home and John was stuck at the Embassy. A huge protest was supposed to arrive in Islamabad on Sunday to protest the corruption in Pakistani politics. John took enough clothes for a few days and went to the Embassy so he could be on compound in case there was something his section needed to do.

The protesters ended up being late and not arriving until Monday. They camped out on a main thoroughfare in town and didn’t leave until Thursday. I stayed in the house and worked remotely, with the Australia Open tennis tournament on in the background. On Wednesday, I was allowed to go the Embassy to print some visas – it was nice to finally get out of the house! John and I came home together that evening, and on Thursday we were back to business as usual.

Friday night, John and I hosted a going away party for one of the local staff in our section. The staff arranged for a caterer, so all I had to do was open the door. We used the occasion to inauguate the fire pit, which was a big hit. The house was full and everyone seemed to have a good time. I didn’t take any pictures, but hope to get some to post next week. I stayed up late, sitting around the fire with a couple of guys from my section, just talking. What is is about a fire that’s so inviting and cozy?

Saturday I worked all day, just to get caught up and get some pending items off my desk. After that, we met Howie and Petit at the Serena for Thai food – fun evening! 


Easing into the new year

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

This week was pretty quiet and routine. I made it to the gym most every day after work, which is a big accomplishment for me! Most nights John and I watched an episode of “Justified,” which was a lot of fun. It’s chilly here, although many days are sunny enough to sit outside for lunch. Our house is cold, though – tile floors and high ceilings, so we’ve pulled out the electric blanket. Like in the summer when we can’t run the air conditioner all over the house, we only heat the rooms we are in – which is fine, but just a difference from the luxury of central heat!

Last Sunday John and I went to the office to get caught up on some things. The week pretty much just rolled along as usual until Friday – John and I went to happy hour at the club, then he and Rick and I tried a new restaurant, Majjliss. The food was pretty good – the only downside is that people were smoking like crazy inside. It’s so weird, after so many years of smoke-free restaurants in the U.S.

Saturday was a lot of fun. I worked in the morning, so a high-level guy could fly out, and I also got a student’s visa out the door – he was very happy. At noon, John, Rick and I left to go to the Polo Lounge for lunch with Laura, Scott and Michael. Although it was chilly and had been raining, it cleared up and we were cozy in our tent with outdoor heaters. We had a great lunch, then everyone came over to play board games all afternoon. It was so much fun just to hang out around the dining room table and yak and have fun. We had some more snacks, and Michael made homemade bread pudding that was delicious!

Happy birthday to Ginger this week! Someone just posted this old newspaper clipping showing the delegates to Boys’ State – check out John on the front row.

John in high school (front row left)


Happy new year!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

NY Day with co-hosts Kellee and Jim

We’ve been busy wrapping up 2012 and getting started on 2013!

Last Sunday night, our friend Christy hosted us for a delicious Tex-Mex dinner party – I don’t know where she found all of the ingredients, but we had great chicken enchiladas, refried beans, rice, chips and dip, etc. It was delicious food and good company.

Monday was back to work. The weather has still been sunny enough that we can sit outside for lunch, which is nice, considering we don’t really have any windows in our offices. Michael was absent, as he was spending the holidays with his family – good for him! Monday evening was spent preparing for our New Year’s Day brunch that we co-hosted at our house with Jim and Kellee.

We had a great group on New Year’s Day. We got started around 11 AM and the last folks didn’t leave til 5:30 PM or so. We had blackeyed peas, cornbread, baked purple cabbage (thanks, Muffy!), potato soup, and Kellee’s famous homemade mac-n-cheese. Oh, and ham and John’s delicious smoked chickens! It was a feast, and remarkably, most everything was eaten at the end of the day. We had lots of fun and I think everyone had a good time – a great way to start the new year! Here are a couple more photos:

NY Day with Howie and Petit










NY Day with Carla and Mike










We went back to work on Wednesday  –  I don’t know what it is about short weeks, but they often seem like longer weeks! I was glad to see Friday roll around – it was just “one of those days” on the visa line. A bunch of us ended up at the Club for happy hour after work – a great way to unwind.

The good news is that I got back on the horse and was back on the treadmill this week! I’m trying to get to the gym for a short jog after work. John and I were so good during R&R, then it was hard to get back into the swing of things when we returned to Post.

Saturday was a big day. I met Carla and Kellee at a local Asian restaurant for lunch, then we started a marathon shopping day. We hit our favorite spots, plus we went to the house of a woman who does beautiful (and expensive) marble/lapiz inlay work. It was typically Pakistani – we showed up at her house while she and her family were eating lunch and watching TV, but she graciously showed us to a back room where she keeps her samples. Beautiful work. The lapiz here is amazing.

That evening, my co-worker Antonio had several folks over for an authentic Italian meal – recipes from his grandmother – it was probably the best food I’ve had here. Homemade bruschetta, pasta with homemade sauce, steak, rosemary potatoes, and the piece de resistance – from-scratch tiramisu. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was a really nice evening with good company. And I was very proud of myself for eventually finding my way home in an intense fog that rolled in!

While I was out shopping and to dinner, John was enjoying the company of our good friends Scott and Laura, who were teaching him a new board game. I got to visit with them for a while and they seemed to be having a good time:

Laura, Scott and John









In our free time, John and I finished the current episodes of “Homeland,” and have started the series, “Justified.” We were pleasantly surprised to see our college friend Bill Ragsdale in a recurring role!