Archive for June, 2014

Work, sweat, repeat

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

The heat is back with a vengeance (not really sure it ever left). I worked Saturday adjudicating passports all day (a “super Saturday” to provide passport services to Americans here in Pakistan and reduce our wait time for appointments). Afterwards I walked up to the Club to look at the Saturday vendors the Embassy brings in and thought I would pass out from the heat! I did find a couple of lightweight tops to buy.

Monday we were closed to visa applicants due to the security situation (large demonstrations not directed to Americans). We were at work but no applicants or local staff, so it was pretty quiet and pleasant.

Thursday during lunch, Nomi, Brad, Mike and I took motorpool to the market. I picked up the things I had left to be framed – they did an excellent job on them. Rick and Sarah seemed to really like the photo of their dog that we had framed as a gift to them.

The rest of the week was pretty busy. I had to adjudicate visas several days since I had an employee out sick. Saturday was passport day, and I worked all Sunday afternoon just trying to catch up on visa work. It never stops.

Tuesday night we went to a fun carpet party at Becky’s house and brought home more carpets to choose from. It’s so hard to pick! Friday night was happy hour at the Club, and Saturday night was a going-away at Joseph and Sunera’s – sure will miss them!

Rugs, rugs, rugs!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Truck full of carpets

Truck full of carpets










Since our security posture doesn’t allow us to go out shopping in the markets, we decided to bring the market to us! Last Sunday we had dozens of Embassy friends over to peruse carpets (and jewelry). Obaid brought over 200 carpets to the house and they were selling like hotcakes! And a local jeweler set up the dining room table with sparkly jewelry, too! Lots of fun! We enjoyed visiting with everyone until bedtime!

I spent a good amount of time at the dentist’s office this week, prepping for two more crowns. He is so good and I’m glad I’m having it taken care of.

Some bug is going around – John was out from work on Thursday and Friday, then it hit me on Saturday. Instead of going to the office, I spent the day alternatively moaning and watching movies (“The Politician’s Wife” and the remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”). Sunday I felt much better and spent the day at the office trying to get caught up. At the end of the day, I joined up with John, Joseph, and Sunera who had had a gaming party all afternoon – we wound down the evening sitting on the balcony watching a huge storm (including hail) pass through. Nice to cool things off a bit.

The rest of the week was pretty low-key since we can’t really go anywhere. We went to happy hour with Sunera on Wednesday – it’s mango season here, so I tried a mango margarita – yummy!

Mom’s out of the hospital, thank goodness, and seems to be feeling fine! I’m so grateful to Sandy, David, and Alison for taking good care of her!

Here are a few more photos from the carpet party.

My boss, Kristin

My boss, Kristin

Steve bought this cool kilim

Steve bought this cool kilim

View from the stairs

View from the stairs

Adi checking out a Turkman design

Adi checking out a Turkman design


Saturday, June 14th, 2014













Good grief, it’s hot here! I went out shopping yesterday with Brad and Mike and thought we might melt! I had several errands to run: taking things to be framed, picking up photographs, just odds and ends. I took this photo below of the naan (flatbread) shop – the guy squatting on the left is placing dough in the tandoor (oven) and geez, talk about hot. It hurt just to pause to take the photo and buy a couple of pieces of bread!

The naan shop

The naan shop








Making naan

Making naan











We had a few things going on this week. John and I treated ourselves to sushi one night; spent Friday the 13th at a happy hour given by the agricultural attach̩, followed by a going-away party for our friends Charlie and Andrea; shopping outing to the tailor with John; shopping outing with Brad to the tailor and to Saad Brass; happy hour at the Club with friends on Wednesday Рkeeping busy!

I gave a visa presentation to the Ambassador and other interested folks on Thursday – it was fun. Visa stories are always interesting and entertaining and everyone seemed to enjoy hearing about the work we do in the section.

I went back to the dentist for my crown. He’s so good (Dr. Malik). He actually has a lab in the office where they make the crowns. He wasn’t happy with the color, so he brought the tech up to look at it – 15 minutes later, the tech had re-fired it and the color was perfect – pretty amazing to me. He’s going to do a couple more for me before I go; crowns are very inexpensive here compared to the States, so I’m going to take advantage of that before we leave.

There was an attack on the airport in Karachi last Sunday, so our security posture here has changed a bit. I can’t drive my car, so am back in Motorpool for everything.

LJ is in the hospital for a few days – her blood pressure dropped super-low. Luckily her fabulous housekeeper was there and got her to the ER quickly. We’ve spoken several times and she sounds good. They’re running tests and keeping her a couple of days for observation.

These fabulous trees are blooming in Islamabad right now – they are gorgeous. The blossoms look like bunches of grapes.

Amaltas tree

Amaltas tree






Sunday, June 8th, 2014
50.5 with Christy's chocolate fudge cake!

50.5 with Christy’s chocolate fudge cake!

Last fall when we tried to celebrate John’s 50th birthday, we had to cancel the party due to a security lockdown. So, we decided to celebrate 50.5 with a dinner re-do. We had 11 guests; Christy made an out-of-this-world cake and Julia made homemade chocolate chip ice cream. We topped off the night with Brad’s wicked Czech liquor and called it a night around 11PM. Fun!
The other highlight of the week was last Sunday evening when I went to commencement for the International School. I’ve had a fun and busy year on the Board of Directors and enjoyed seeing it culminate with graduation. There were 12 graduates and they were just as cute as could be. The DCM gave the commencement address. Here are some photos with some of my favorite Board members.

With Romana - so pretty and elegant!

With Romana – so pretty and elegant!

With Jaunice and Rose, superintendent - wonderful ladies!

With Jaunice and Rose, superintendent – wonderful ladies!

With Tariq, Board president - such a gracious man.

With Tariq, Board president – such a gracious man.
































Monday we had two new officers join my section, so we’ll be busy getting them trained up. That night I went for a massage, and later in the week went for a mani-pedi after work.

Tuesday, Christy, Brad, Sunera, and I went to Tribal Arts to do a little shopping, then swung by a couple of art galleries.

Thursday, we went out for a steak with Joseph and Sunera, and Friday we stopped by a happy hour at work, then to a going-away party for INL. A fun and busy week!

Saturday John and I went to see an acupuncturist, a Chinese doctor who several folks have talked about. He gave me a good massage, then two needles at the base of my neck to try to loosen up my shoulder. So far, so good! The rest of the day I was at the gym, did a little bit of work at my office, took a sick Embassy kitty to the vet, and got ready for the party.

Today I got up early and went in to work. The days are so busy that it’s hard to get anything done that requires concentration. Around 11AM, I went to the Canadian Embassy for a bazaar and did a little shopping and met Brad for lunch at the Club – then back to work for a while longer.

It’s soooo hot – summer really is here.

Here’s a happy shot taken at John’s balloon animal class – happy people!

Balloon class!

Balloon class!

Memorial Day

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Flower vendor

Flower vendor

While it was nice to have a day off for Memorial Day, we were still on lockdown so we really couldn’t go anywhere. We could take Motorpool to the Embassy, so off we went Sunday afternoon for the Club’s cookout. It was hot as blazes, so we just visited with friends for a while and then left…secure in our air-conditioned house once again! We settled in to watch the last episode of this season’s “Homeland.”

Monday I fobbed in and worked pretty much all day, mostly wading through emails trying to get caught up. Later in the afternoon, John and I pulled out the Scrabble board and played a fun game. Saleem went to the vet for me to pick up Mittens, one of the compound kitties who had been hospitalized for an infection. He brought her back to the house, then Motorpool took me to the Embassy to release her.

Tuesday my boss Kristin and I met Barb and Petra (from the German Embassy) for lunch at the French Club. They’re always fun to visit with. After work, I went to Sully’s photography class.

Wednesday night was my last school board meeting. It’s been a lot of fun and I have really enjoyed getting to know the board members. The DCM attended the meeting, too – so nice that he is interested in the school.

I had a dentist appointment this week – there is a dentist in town who gets rave reviews from everyone. He’s going to replace a couple of crowns for me before I leave. While I dread it, it will be nice to have it done.

It’s rained off and on this week which has cooled things off a bit. Thursday evening I sat outside on the balcony and read, enjoying the threat of a storm. It never actually rained, but the wind felt nice and the temperatures dropped. Very pleasant!

Friday after work Brad and I went to happy hour with some folks at the club, then I took him and Nomi home.

Saturday was busy. I did my normal early morning gym workout, then worked until 2PM. Then Brad, Nomi, and I went to Saad Brass, then to the market to run some errands. I picked up my new smokey topaz ring – it’s quite fancy and fun! I got home just in time to take a shower and dress for a going-away party for Lizanne and Peter. They had a small dinner party at their house – quite nice. We’re sure going to miss them!

This morning Motorpool ran me over to the Afghan Bakery for goodies for our brunch this morning. John did a coffee roasting demo for several friends, followed by a nice brunch and an afternoon of gaming!

Roasting coffee

Roasting coffee

Afghan Bakery
Afghan Bakery