March 17th, 2019

First boat ride of the season!

I made a quick trip to Hot Springs this week to see David and Alison – I arrived late Sunday night and left at the crack of dawn Wednesday.  We had a great visit! The lake came back up while I was there, so we were able to take the boat out for the first ride of the season – a little chilly, but nice! I also was able to spend Tuesday evening with Chuck – we started with drinks at the Vault (I had absinthe!), took a stroll down Bathhouse Row, and ended with a glass of wine at 501. It’s always fun to see him and hear about cool things he’s doing.

With Chuck at the Vault

Thursday night, John took me to see Kinky Friedman at the Birchmere – we had a good time, enjoyed our great seats, and laughed a lot.


Yesterday John took Flavia to the vet to start getting her vaccines and paperwork in order for our big adventure this summer! John really out-did himself last night – he made a great Moroccan chicken in his new Dutch oven – it was amazing!


March 10th, 2019

On the case!

The highlight of this very cold, cold week was yesterday’s outing with Wendy, Nick, Tammy, and Scott, et al for CluedUpp DC.  To solve a murder mystery, your team downloads the app on your phone to see where your virtual witnesses are located…the phone uses the GPS and alerts you when you successfully find them. Once you find them, you read their witness statements and can ask them questions or get a hint. Because the witnesses are all over the mall (and some of them run away and you have to chase them), we got a ton of exercise!

With Wendy and Tammy

Costumes are encouraged, and while ours were pretty low key (except for a group photo with masks), other groups were definitely in the swing of it. After almost three hours of walking all over the Mall, we finally decided we had to stop for lunch and “detective juice,” and we solved the mystery from the comfort of a pub. Big fun – leave it to my friend Tammy to organize us for somethinglike this! Click to see all of my photos.

We finished watching “True Detective” this week; it was fun to see Arkansas landmarks and actors we know. We also enjoyed “The Wife,” with Glenn Close – she is amazing.

I had lunch with an aspiring Foreign Service Officer this week; she tests later this month – good luck!

Nick and Wendy

Finding clues with Wendy and Nick

With Wendy at the Hirshhorn Museum

Back to the high life

March 3rd, 2019

Love the bowler hats

I traveled to Bolivia this past week – and by “high life,” I mean the altitude! I did not partake of the abundant coca leaves while there (it’s really popular in tea and purports to help with the altitude). My boss’s boss went with me on this trip; we got along great and it was wonderful to have her along. And, turns out she likes to shop as much as I do!

We arrived Sunday morning via Miami and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We got lucky and caught an earlier flight into La Paz, so we were able to take a nap, then go out for a walk and shopping before our co-worker Mike came to pick us up for dinner. We took the teleferico to the cool Zone Sur part of town, where we met Mike’s wife, and Julie and her husband at a swanky restaurant with cool Bolivian art.

Julie took us back to the Zona Sur Tuesday night to hit some higher-end stores, then we went to a great Italian restaurant.

Thursday after work we flew to Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia. It was like night and day – La Paz is high altitude and a bit chilly, while Santa Cruz is hot and humid. We visited the consular agency there on Friday. After lunch with the two ladies who work in the agency, we went shopping again, and found more treasures we couldn’t live without. Saturday morning, we flew home (with more airport shopping!) – I got home around 11PM, so it was a long travel day. Nice to be home!

Click to see all my photos.

Choclo (corn)

Hotel view – you can see the teleferico near the bottom of the photo

Old trunk in a shop, addressed to US Embassy La Paz

Napping between customers

Early birds and all that

February 23rd, 2019

I’ll have a grueling travel day tomorrow, so I’m blogging a day early so I don’t forget! I’m at the airport now…check back next week to see where I’ve been!

Last Sunday was game day at Ben and Angela’s out in Leesburg, so that means John plays games all day and I go to the nearby outlet mall to shop. And I bought a new laptop while I was out!

Monday was a holiday. We stayed in and watched “True Detective” (set in NW Arkansas); John cooked some delicious steaks in the cast iron griddle.  Tuesday night, John got to have dinner with Phillip, who was working in nearby Reston. So nice that Phillip’s job gets him out this way now and then! Wednesday was a snow day, so I worked at home and watched the pretty snow.

Thursday night we met a few friends at Ris, then John, Jimmi, and I stayed for a delicious dinner.

Friday was busy at work getting ready for this trip! I had time for a manicure/pedicure this morning before packing and heading to the airport. It’s a rainy, chilly, cloudy day!

With Jimmi, John, and Brian



Back to Guyana

February 17th, 2019

Guyana hotel view (the ocean was muddy)

I flew to Guyana last Sunday to work, and returned on Friday. I always enjoy going there: I like the people, there’s a nice lounge at the Marriott overlooking the ocean where I have breakfast and dinner, I can walk to work, and there’s a small cafeteria where I can eat inside the embassy. It’s the small things. And parrots fly overhead at morning and dusk. I was there on Valentine’s Day. We had cake in the morning, and in the afternoon, the local international school choir serenaded me (they do singing Valentine’s as a fund-raiser). I spent two evenings in the lounge visiting with a retired Foreign Service Officer who was there working in the consular section – very nice. Monday night I worked out  during Marine boot camp – my legs hurt the rest of the week from squats!

Last night we went to RT’s for Cajun food with Rick and Claire – it’s one of our favorites. I had she-crab soup and pecan-crusted haddock – yum!

Somehow during my travel last Sunday, I completely forgot to blog! I was in town the previous week. I went to happy hour one night with Tammy, Amy, and Donna, which is always fun. Otherwise it was pretty quiet!

John and worked a jigsaw puzzle this weekend, and I’ve been playing online Scrabble some – fun!

While at the Admirals Club in Miami, I got a selfie with Bob Cranston, who was sitting in my little reading nook – he’s credited with creating the first frequent flyer programs. Thanks to that, I flew business class on the way down, so I wanted to tell him thanks!

With Bob Cranston


Morning at the Miami Airport

I got this nice little email from our housekeeper in Islamabad after I sent him birthday greetings. I miss people calling me “madam,” haha!

From Saleem

It has dawned on me that I am beginning to look more and more like my mother. She would have turned 94 this past Wednesday.

Any resemblance?

Mom with Tiger as a kitten