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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Eventful day! Thank you for sharing the info on the Spy Museum. We were on the fence about it but I guess we'll wait a few years, since our daughter is only 6. Great pictures from the Portrait Gallery. The portraits are beautiful but I really liked your shot of the stair cases. Nice portrait of your son too!

FSO Hopeful

How did I not know DC had a Chinatown? Love the pic of the driftwood horse.


What a fun day. I have not been to the Spy Museum because I really like all of the other "free" things to do, that I have not wanted to put money into it. I am glad to know that the little ones would not enjoy it.
Okay, question...if you could have a piece of art done for you of you-what would it be? Bronze? Portrait? Marble? Photograph? Anything else?


OK Darn it! I mentioned the spy museum to Dave and his first words were Too Expensive! He will be relieved that you have talked me out of it, for now. I will hit him up again when the boys are older. I also NEVER get to see the art museums. The boys just hate them!

They have our museum line up for the summer: There will be air and space, native american, air and space, natural history, air and space, botanical gardens, air and space, zoo, oh and did I mention air and space??? David is trying to get them excited about the American History and I really want to go to the African art museum because we are going to AFRICA. Maybe we can squeeze it in between the air and space visits.


The plan is for us to go to the Spy Museum when the grandparents come to visit. Hubby's aunt has them convinced it is the coolest place ever -- so we're saving it for them. *grin*

And thanks for the warnings about the. . . unpleasant-especially-when-you-have-kids stuff at the Portrait Gallery. Nudity in classic art doesn't bother me. . . I'd rather have that be the kids' exposure to nudity. But crass stuff? Nope. Not for us.


Washington is probably the best city ever for museums. The Air and Space, the Natural History, and the American History museums were/are all favorites with my wife and kids. My wife is also fascinated by - of all thing - the National Museum
of Civil War Medicine, but I think that's closed for renovations right now.

My favorite is the National Archives. You can view the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and even the Magna Carta in the public vaults.

The National Holocaust Museum is extremely somber, of course, but I took my kids there when they were teenagers and they had a good educational experience. It takes three hours, minimum, to do a self-guided tour. You need to reserve tickets, but there is no fee.

Just try to avoid peak hours during the summer, or school holiday periods, and you really can't go wrong with any of the Smithsonian or other national museums.

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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:
A Daring Adventure's items Go to A Daring Adventure's photostream