Archive for July, 2018

Honor grad!

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

He did it!

I took the train (!) from D.C. to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Thursday afternoon to go see John graduate (with honors!) from the U.S. Army War College the next morning. It was a beautiful morning and it was so fun to see John graduate! I also got to meet his instructor and several of his classmates, and took a tour of the classrooms and grounds. One of his classmates, Willy, is from Hot Springs – he attended the same schools as me and we had a great time visiting. John was one of about six State Department officers who were selected for the distance learning Masters of Strategic Studies program back in 2016.  Along with the 400+ military folks who participated, there were also officers from other countries and other U.S. government agencies. For the last two years, he’s been reading and writing in all of his spare time and that hard work paid off!

Team Crippen takes the #1 spot in their war game final!

Waiting for ceremony to begin

After graduation, we loaded up the car and headed to Gettysburg. Along the way we stopped and had some great BBQ on the side of the road – yum! We watched the Gettysburg film at the visitor’s center, walked through the museum, and looked at the cyclorama, then started on a self-drive tour just as it started to pour down rain. The rain made everything look more haunting – it’s a beautiful place with green rolling hills. It was just incredible.


Cemetery Hill

On the confederate side of the ridge

From the Union side

Last night we drove up to Merriweather Pavillon to see the incredible David Byrnes – what a fun show! He played a lot from his new album as well as some classics. His voice is still wonderful, and he was moving around the stage like he was in his 30s – I was really impressed!

I had dinner one night with my friend Kelly, who was in town from Guadalajara, on her way to Abuja, Nigeria!

With Kelly

Who wears it better?

Hanging with Abe

Traveling girl, Harrisburg, PA train station

Back to Grenada

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Fish stew, turkey stew

I was home over the weekend, then flew to Grenada Monday morning (the 6AM flight – ugh!).  The embassy there is tiny – one American and five local staff, so it was a short trip.  I like staying at the Radisson where they have resident (spayed) cats, and there’s a grocery store across the street where I can buy things to take for my lunch (there’s nothing near the embassy – it’s just a converted house out on a stretch of road in a residential part of town).

It was a long flight home – I left the embassy a little after noon, and walked in my apartment door after 1AM.

John is in Pennsylvania for the last two weeks of his masters program, so I came home to an empty house, which is odd – I’m usually the one gone from home!  Yesterday was rainy, but I braved the weather and did a bit of shopping downtown, but otherwise Flavia and I stayed inside. I binged on Season Two of “The Handmaid’s Tale” – enough to scare your socks off!

Click for more photos from Grenada.

This little girl came running to me and crawled in my lap

My driver in Grenada, Mr. Church

Lovely sunset

Grenada goats are everywhere grazing


Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Gorgeous lunch view

I left Sunday for another trip to Bermuda – heavens, what a pretty (and expensive!) place. The water is so blue, everything is clean and tidy, and the men are adorable in their pastel Bermuda shorts (with high black socks, dress shoes, and suit jackets)! I flew in Sunday; Marcy and her beagle picked me up at the airport in her cute Beetle convertible. We had lunch at a lovely spot overlooking the ocean, then had a drink at the hotel pool bar while I waited for my room. One night Marcy and I walked around downtown during their Harbor Nights – they close the street and have music and vendors out, and another night we drove around the island some. Just gorgeous!

So blue!

Marcy and Freyja

The hotel is right downtown on the harbor, with yachts left and right. The owner is a modern art collector, so it was like walking around a museum with just amazing art.

Warhols of the Queen

It was a good trip work-wise, too. We had lunch one day at the Consul General’s house, and we did another consular staff lunch at an Indian restaurant another day. On my trip back to the United States, CBP let me observe their preclearance operations at the Hamilton airport (you actually clear U.S. customs in Bermuda, which allows you to fly in to domestic airports like Washington Reagan).

Click to see all of my photos from Bermuda!

Lunch out with the consular folks

I got back to town on Thursday late afternoon (I actually had direct flights to and from Bermuda – what a treat!). Friday, my old boss Pete and I had lunch with Erika, who was in town for training from our Puerto Vallarta office – so nice to see her!

With Pete and Erika

Saturday morning, we met our friends George and Melissa for brunch in Shirlington – George was in our A-100 class and we really enjoy visiting with them. Later that afternoon, we went to Maryland for a delicious BBQ at Emma and Neil’s house (where we spent Christmas). Neil is an excellent chef, and they are wonderful hosts. We sat outside at picnic tables – it was a beautiful day, and they even had live music. Neil had cooked everything from scratch, including strawberry shortcakes with homemade sour cream ice cream that was just incredible. Just a great afternoon!

Happy 4th of July

Sunday, July 8th, 2018


John and I spent the holiday in Leesburg, gaming with friends – or I should say, John was gaming while I watched – and I snuck out for a while to go to the nearby outlet mall for some shopping (waaaaaay too crowded). We had a requisite grilled burger (yum) and enjoyed the company! We got home in time to watch the fireworks from our apartment window – nice, because it was too hot to try to get outside to see them.

We saw a lot of friends this week! I had a fun happy hour after work with Amy and Tammy on Monday – always fun to be in the company of such hilarious and smart women.

Thursday we had John’s work buddies Adrian and Thomas over for dinner and a game of Catan, and on Friday we had Rick and Claire over for dinner. We finally got to meet Rick’s daughter Erin who is here for the summer – what a lovely little girl.

Saturday Jimmi hosted us for dinner at her new condo – such a nice time. Another guest is currently working in Pakistan, so we had a lot of fun talking about the “old days” of being in Islamabad – always fun to connect!

This morning I am off again for work after a four-week respite!

With little Midnight at Jimmi’s house

Clear skies!


Summer’s here

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

With Jim Smyle

We had a special treat this week! Jim S. was in town and joined us for breakfast one morning at the house. It’s always good for the soul to see him – just wish he’d brought Joan with him!

I forgot to mention in last week’s post that I spent my final night in Arkansas in Little Rock with Mary! We had a great time visiting and getting caught up, and it made getting to my 7AM flight so much easier – thanks, Mary!

Friday night, Caroline, our former boss in Juarez, came for dinner with her husband Harold. We had a fun time eating and telling tales. They were part of John’s book club down there, and are always interesting. It’s hard to believe we worked together over 10 years ago.

Saturday night we went to the Kennedy Center to see Judy Collins and Stephen Stills. It was a fun concert – they are getting old, for sure (Judy Collins is 79!), but her voice was still beautiful and his guitar was great.

D.C. is heating up and lots of tourists are in town, so I guess summer is really here!

Hi y’all!