Archive for December, 2018

Merry Christmas and happy shutdown

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Good times around Neil’s table

We were invited back to Neil and Emma’s house for Christmas this year (I guess we behaved ourselves last year), and we thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon/evening. He cooked an amazing tenderloin – what a treat to eat his professional cooking. Julia and Richard were there, plus another couple they are friends with – such fun and interesting conversation around the dinner table.

With Neil and Emma


John was furloughed during the government shutdown, but I continued to work this past week, since consular operations are funded by the fees we generate from passports and visas. It worked out fine, though, since John cooked dinner Thursday and Friday nights! We had his office buddies, Adrian and Thomas, over for chili the first night, and our friend from Juarez, Justin, and his wife the next night. It gave John a chance to don his new apron – cousins David and Alison sent us both personalized aprons for Christmas – so cute!

John in his new apron

The week has been filled with friends. Saturday morning, one of the officers from Santiago came over for coffee while he was visiting DC, and we had a nice long chat. Sunday we went to brunch at my visa pal Val’s house in Maryland where we ate some great food, and enjoyed the company. I finally got to meet Rachel’s baby in person! Our old boss from Juarez, Roger, came home with us after the party and we sat around and yakked for a couple of hours – big fun.

Val and baby Scout

With Rachel and Scout


I heart New York

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

I Heart NY

I took this week off from work, and enjoyed goofing off at home on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday John and I took the train to NYC. We stayed near Times Square and the theatre district. I was thrilled to see four excellent shows: “Network,” with Bryan Cranston; “Waverly Gallery,” with the incredible 86-year-old Elaine May and one of my favorite actresses Joan Allen; “The Band’s Visit” that just blew us away; and “Downstairs,” with real-life siblings Tim and Tyne Daly. This last show was off-Broadway and in a small theatre, which was fantastic – and we had a bonus sighting of Tea Leoni. Seeing such great acting was good for the soul.


Belasco Theatre under the full moon

We had a special treat yesterday when our trip overlapped briefly with our dear friends Mike and Wayne from San Antonio, so we had a lovely pre-show dinner with them last night shortly after they landed – what good luck!

With Mike and Wayne

John and I took the subway to the 9/11 memorial site. We didn’t go to the museum, but we were really moved by the two memorial pools on the site of the towers. Each is a large square with victims’s names engraved on the edges. Water falls from all side and flows into a deep square chasm at the bottom. It is haunting and peaceful.

9/11 Memorial pool


The other highlight of my trip was getting a Ouidad haircut at the 57th Street salon, when Cousin Julie and I went 19 years ago! And I was super-pumped (pun intended) to try the much-hyped Peloton bikes at the hotel gym – they were fun!


Getting ready for New Year’s Eve

American Airlines sent me a summary of my travel this year – the equivalent of three trips around the world!

My travel on American Airlines this year

No rest for the weary

Sunday, December 16th, 2018


Icelandic mail box

Monday afternoon I was back on a plane, this time a return to Iceland. The weather there was wet and cold, although warmer than DC. When we landed after our 5+ hour flight, we couldn’t disembark due to high winds! They couldn’t bring the jet bridge out, nor would they let us walk down the steps for fear we’d blow away! So we sat on the plane for an incredible 4+ hours until the wind died down enough. The news reported that around a dozen planes were in the same situation; when we finally got off the plane, the airport was a zoo with all the flights backed up.

Church and Christmas decoration

Huge Christmas Cat

I stayed downtown, just a few minutes walk to the embassy. The city was decorated with Christmas lights everywhere, which was nice since it was dark, rainy, and overcast for most of my visit (even on good days they only get a few hours of sun this time of year).  Their “thing” is an evil Christmas cat (pictured above) that eats children unlucky enough to not get any clothing for Christmas.  I was super-happy to return to my favorite restaurant there (twice!) to eat a delicious Arctic char (fish) that they pan fry and drizzle with a honey-butter and slivered almonds. Yum.

My favorite dish!

I flew back on Friday (with much less drama), returning to a dreary, rainy DC.  We went to a couple of parties yesterday, and the fun continues today!

All the Iceland coins have sea creatures! So cute.


Trinidad, Take Two

Monday, December 10th, 2018

We returned from Philly last Sunday, and Monday morning early I was out the door heading to Trinidad. My routing took me through Houston this time, and I hung out in the lounge there during a long layover – it reminded me of the Guadalajara days.

My trip was interrupted by the National Day of Mourning for President Bush, so I had to jam four days of work into three, but it all worked out. It was a low-key trip, just staying at the hotel for dinner and not venturing out.

I flew all day Saturday to get back home in the late afternoon – in time to go to Adrian’s housewarming party. Sunday, I met my friend Pam B and her cute little girl for brunch, folllowed by our annual outing to the Nutcracker Ballet at the Kennedy Center.

At the Nutcracker

Back to Philly!

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

John in his element at PAX

John and I took the train to Philadelphia early Friday morning for John to attend PAX Unplugged, a huge gaming convention. It was our second time to go and we had a blast! While John was busy playing board games with the thousands of other people there, I hit the museums.

I spent Friday afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I took two guided tours that were wonderful – one toured a special exhibit of fashion from the late 40s to present day, and the other was of the contemporary art collection. The docents were really wonderful! I loved the museum so much that I went back on Saturday to see a little more of it, then I went to the Perlman Gallery across the street (an annex) and to the Rodin Gallery. It was a rainy day, so a good time to be inside!

The Thinker(s)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Fashion Exhibit

Earlier this week, we had our good friend and neighbor Michael Grantham from Juarez over for dinner – it was great to see him and catch up!

Union Station, DC

Beautiful Union Station in DC