Archive for April, 2023

And just like that

Sunday, April 30th, 2023

Today marks our 16th anniversary of joining the Foreign Service – hard to believe! It was rather fitting, then, that we were able to see an old friend (and my old boss) from Tel Aviv – Juan was in town for a (non-Foreign Service) work trip and came for dinner Friday night. We were joined by Jenae, who we all worked with on our first tours in Juarez (although Juan left Juarez right before we arrived…then we met him on our second tour). We had a great time catching up and hearing about his life in London, where he settled down after Tel Aviv. We were just delighted to get to see him!

With Juan, John, and Jenae
With Juan

Saturday night, we had dinner at Jamie & Kat’s, along with Rachel. Another fitting occasion, since we first met Jamie 16 years ago when he was with us in orientation into the Foreign Service! We had a great time chatting, eating great food (I got the recipe for roasted carrots with cumin seed, yummers), and solving all the world’s problems.

Last Monday I went back to work, made easier by an “off-campus” lunch with Lea to catch up. Thursday night, John and I attended the Netherland’s “Day of the King” celebration after work.

We finished Season One of “The Diplomat” – completely over the top but lots of fun. I read “Carrie Soto is Back,” by the same author of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” an easy read about a former tennis champion. I tried to get into Amor Towles’ “Lincoln Highway,” but just couldn’t, even after enjoying his other books.

After almost 19 years, Flavia has decided John is pretty OK and has taken to sitting on his lap!

And now that cherry season is over, I’ve taken to grapes – these are from Chile and are just amazing! Look how huge they are – and so sweet!

Vacation’s over – boo!

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023
Old feed store

Sadly, our fun vacation came to an end yesterday and we arrived back in Buenos Aires this morning. The flight was fine, all on time, and I was able to sleep some. Flavia was glad to see us, but Pilar took good care of her while we were gone.

April 19 marked the end of an era: we sold the Monroe Street duplex! I love that place so much, but it really needed more attention than I could give it. I know that my good friends Bruce and Beth will take excellent care of it, and I was happy it will stay “in the family”! I think I bought it in 1994 or so, and it will always have a special place in my heart!

We went to Little Rock on Wednesday to sign the closing documents for it, plus I had an eye doctor appointment and we closed a bank account. Mary had us over for a BBQ lunch at her house, then we met Deb, Doug, and their daughter Anna at Local Lime in West Little Rock.

Thursday we drove to Fayetteville for the day, and had lunch with Philip, Pete, and Ginger. It was great to see them and the drive up there was beautiful. It rained on us most of the way home, then the bottom fell out when we got to Hot Springs – it rained and rained and stormed all night! Lovely!

Last Tuesday, Chuck and I went to check out the relatively new Majestic Park ballpark, a beautiful complex of baseball fields. The park is an homage to the major league teams who used to come to Hot Springs for spring training. We had fun watching a high school game!

With Chuck
Practicing my swing with The Babe

We finished up the trip by having BBQ at David and Alison’s Friday night, along with PeeWee.

In the “small world” category, John’s Argentine friend Hernan, who he worked with back in the day (and whose house we went to for an asado not too long ago), has an aunt who lives on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, not too terribly far from us. I ran over last week to pick up a package to bring to him – Aunt Hilda was a doll and we enjoyed a visit.

With Aunt Hilda

John and I went to yoga several times this week – so nice! We caught up on some television: “Succession” and “Ted Lasso,” plus we watched “The Accidental Tourist” and started a new series, “The Diplomat” with Keri Russell. I finished reading Geena Davis’s memoir, “Dying of Politeness,” and “Rules of Civility,” by Amor Towles (who also did “A Gentleman in Moscow”).

I ran a couple of errands Saturday morning before we left, and couldn’t help but pull around to the back of the track and watch the jockeys breezing horses – it was a bit chilly and sunny, and the horses were beautiful. Several of the jockeys yelled good morning and asked if I had brought coffee for them – it seemed everyone was in good spirits.

Morning breezing

I loved this great image of Eudora Welty at the Atlanta airport.

It was great to be back in Hot Springs! Until next time!


Sunday, April 16th, 2023

It’s so good to be home! It’s been really peaceful. A big highlight of this trip has been getting back into doing yoga, something I haven’t done for years. I’ve been going to The Yoga Place, owned by my college friend Karen, and I’m really enjoying it. Her studio is an old church downtown with an amazing stained glass rose window — just beautiful.

I’ve seen a few friends: coffee with Karen on a non-yoga day, coffee with Jackie after yoga one morning, and Easter dinner with David, Alison, and PeeWee — who arrived in her sporty new car complete with bunny ears and a bunny tail!

You should see the bunny tail!
Alison’s beautiful veggies

Thursday night, I went to Little Rock with PeeWee, Alison, and Nick to the UALR Chancellor’s Recital, where two of PeeWee’s voice students sang. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and the choir just blew me away.

Alison and I went out on the boat one afternoon – the weather has been amazing!

That’s our condo!

And I had a good visit with Chuck one afternoon and I introduced him to chaffles (cheese waffles) made with my thrift store waffle iron!

Ann came to spend the night Friday night – we had a blast, cooking steaks on the grill and talking and talking and talking!

And John arrived yesterday morning! Hooray! Life is good!

Thanks to Carol for this great postcard Joyce wrote in 1948!


Sunday, April 9th, 2023
Cool installation at Atlanta airport

I flew out of Buenos Aires on Good Friday heading home for a bit. I had a layover in ATL and enjoyed some of the art in the terminal, including this cool light and sound installation in the concourse – it was meant to evoke the feeling of being in a forest; it was very calming and they played sounds of hawks calling and other birds. They also had this groovy lunchbox collection!

The weather here is great – cool and sunny. Hard to imagine the tornadoes from last week. It’s wonderful to be back by the lake and wake up to the sound of birds and ducks. I had coffee with David and Alison when I arrived, then went back over for dinner later – so good to see them!

At work this week, I attended a small group discussion with the Ambassador at his residence, loosely about the role of the State Department in times of crisis. Another day, I was asked to speak to a class of consular managers via video link – that was quite fun and I was flattered to be asked.

John and I finished the Korean series “Little Women” – we really enjoyed it. We’re also glad to have “Succession” back! I finished reading “I Have Questions for You” (who writes a murder mystery but doesn’t wrap it up?) and “Women Talking,” which I enjoyed (and now want to see the movie). It made me pick up a second Miriam Toews book, so we’ll see how that goes.

Spring Fling

Sunday, April 2nd, 2023
Big hit!

John’s balloon animal skills were a huge hit at yesterday’s Spring Fling at the Ambassador’s residence! It was a lot of fun with egg hunts, egg races, and sack races for all age groups. Lots of happy kids! The weather was just flat-out gorgeous – we rode our bikes to the event, and it seemed everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine and great temperatures.

Egg hunt around the fountain

Tuesday, Lea, Kat, and I met for happy hour near the embassy at a new sidewalk cafe – good fun catching up on gossip and discovering our mutual love for Scrabble. Imagine our surprise when Lea came across a Scrabble dictionary stuck in a storeroom at work later in the week! It’s kismet!


Lea and I went to lunch at a groovy vegetarian restaurant today with a lovely outdoor seating area. Luckily we beat the rain that started not long after we left. Speaking of vegetables, look at these yummy roasted veggies that Pilar made for us:

The rest of the week was pretty routine. The Embassy is in full swing for evaluation season; I’m mercifully done with my own, but John’s been working on the weekends trying to get his all done. I still have one to write for an employee, and I’ve been mentoring some folks and helping with theirs, as well. They can really be a stressor if you let them.

John and I were happy that “Succession” has returned for its final season, and we’re keeping up with both “Ted Lasso” and the Korean “Little Women.” I finished Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead” (ugh) and started on “I Have Questions for You,” a mystery.

We were sick to see the horrible tornadoes in Little Rock this week. It seems our friends are all OK as far as we have heard, but it will sure be a long recovery for the city. Just terrible.

Abandoned building as seen from grocery store parking deck