This is us.  The one showing lots of shoulder (in her Chengdu, China Marine Ball ball gown!) is the EFM who writes this blog. The one wearing a tux (James) is the employee who moves her (and their two sons) around all over the world. The red link, below, is how you can get in touch with me...

The time in Chengdu, China

Chengdu: city of fabulous food and beautiful Buddhist monasteries!
Yes, Beijing's Forbidden City (pictured, above) is really pretty and all, but I like Chengdu much better than Beijing!

In Our Same Boat (with State)

  • Beyond the Cornfields
    Brand-new State Department family in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Love their two little girls (she just recently had a baby while being posted in Dhaka), horticulture, traveling and adventure!
  • Email From The Embassy
    State Department family formerly in Beijing, China, and recently posted to Amman, Jordan. A trailing spouse, she's also a writer, and frequently publishes articles with major news sources. A very experienced State family, this new post is something like overseas post number six or seven for them.
  • Just US
    A beautiful family of seven - they have arrived at their new post: Jerusalem! They just finished off an unaccompanied tour to Iraq and are very much looking forward to sightseeing around the middle east.
  • Our Life
    State Department family on their second post...Tijuana, Mexico. It's their first overseas assignment and they have two little boys. They love Tijuana so far and post pictures frequently! They also get to enjoy the best of both worlds for they can sneak over the border into San Diego when they want to!
  • The Dinoia Family
    State Department family formerly in California, now in DC for a DC tour. Next, the husband will do a one year unaccompanied tour. A very experienced State family (formerly in Iceland and Caracas) with a blog that has been around quite a while and has great archives. Jen has a sweet heart and a lot to give!
  • The Perlman Update
    State Department family formerly in Chennai, India, who then did a year-long unaccompanied tour in Iraq. They are now on a DC tour and after that will do another unaccompanied tour (Afghanistan). She totally tells it like it is and doesn't sugar-coat what life is really like. Witty, snarky, funny and down-to-earth. Look elsewhere if you want fake. Read if you want REAL.
  • Where in the World Am I?
    State Department family formerly in Bujumbura, Burundi and now in Hyderabad, India. They just had their first baby this summer - a beautiful little girl- (there's a separate blog about this) and she also eats gluten-free (with a separate blog, also).
One of the most intriguing things about Chengdu is that it is a seamless blend of ancient and modern... all together, side by side.

Can't Live Without (non-State)

  • Crass-Pollination: An ER blog
    The best ER nurse blog EVER!
  • Doctor Grumpy in the House
    The best doctor blog EVER!
  • In Which...
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of seven. Her darling daughters are, goshdarnit, probably too young to be hoped for as my future daughters-in-law.
  • The Crib Chick
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of five. Hopefully two (Any two! I'm not picky!) of which are my future daughters-in-law.
  • the underwear drawer
    An anesthesiologist who is possibly the most talented & entertaining writer ever. I've read her blog ever since she started medical school. No, don't know her in real life. Wish I did.
  • The Bloggess
    This blog is both hysterically funny and hilariously irreverent. I actually let my 17 year old son read it (who loves it as much as I do!), but wouldn't even CONSIDER letting my 12 year old son read it. Which is about all the description it needs!
The grounds of Chengdu monasteries can be very, very peaceful...even though they are smack dab in the heart of a city of millions of people.
Yes, there are Starbucks in Chengdu! All over the place, in fact. So much so, Starbucks even crafted mugs for Chengdu stores!
Texan bluebonnets. Because I learned during our very first posting (Houston) that there's nothing prettier in the spring than the meadows of Texas.
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Glad to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't take the news of working weekends gracefully and who hates the crack berry with a vengeance.

Ask me sometime how I took the news that we Dave would be working the entire summer break and we would be literally the only people in the mission with kids who would be remaining in country. I may actually hurt the next person to ask when we are leaving because HELLO we are NOT leaving. Oh God I think I need a drink now.

Glad to hear that Matthew survived the history AP. Sounds like he used a very similar tactic to Dakota. I get the "Whatever" thing, since we decided we are homeschooling next year I've been totally "Whatever" about everything concerning the school. This too shall pass, eventually.


Unfortunately, I was just reminded that I am slightly out of touch as Matthew's grandmother because I read that post and then wondered to myself, "Why on earth would Matthew be writing about buttonholes on his A.P exam? Whatever could he have been thinking?" So, I went back to check, to be sure that I'd gotten it right, and darned if I hadn't. Oh, no.

I WISH Matthew had been writing about buttonholes. Fervently. Perhaps Matthew and I will need to have a buttonhole discussion in my sewing room during R&R when he gets here. Handling it THE RIGHT WAY, we may even nudge into the morality of bodkins and rippers and water soluble stabilizers pursuant to buttonhole construction--a much more serviceable subject to be conversant in.

Oh, grandmothers may be out of touch, but they can certainly discourage inappropriate sewing terminologies in teenage boys, and isn't that what life should be all about?

Boy, is R&R going to be fun!


Word conservationist... yea... that's what my boy is too. Very apt description! He wants to be a scientist, and one of the things he wants to create is a transcriber that reads his mind and writes his thoughts down for him so he doesn't have to! He'll make zillions selling it to MS and HS boys, I'm positive!

And you ARE a good wife. See, I'm sure that your husband would really like to be the one to throw the dishtowel and cuss his blackberry when it interferes in your family weekend, but he can't, because it's his job. So you HAVE to do these things ... for both of you.

btw ... does getting jabbed in the arm with a safety pin hurt more than, say, a straight pin or darning needle? I'm pretty sure it's not as bad as a dull crochet hook...


I hated AP exams, even though I am gifted with what my mother charitably calls "copious amounts of bullshit, always at the ready." I never understood why my frigging math exams required a paragraph of response. I usually solved the equation with x = pony and left early.

ANYWAY - maybe you can enroll him in AP Home Ec next year, so he can write essays about buttonholes and bodkin rippers?

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James loves me. And our sons. And his job. But not having his picture taken. In 2011 he finished up over a year and half of training, and in the fall of 2011 we got to our first overseas post - Chengdu, China!
Mao says hi! Because Chengdu is one of the only cities in China with a Mao statue.
Flowers are like friends. Each one is unique. Each one is beautiful. They brighten up everything around them. And you can never have too many. 

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2012 is the Year of the Dragon, y'all! Talk about the ultimate in good luck! This kinda party only comes around once every twelve years!
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Colorful! (Inside a Chengdu ancient Buddhist monastery.)
Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore taking pictures? Here are some that I've taken recently:
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