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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Did you wait for the cake to cool before you frosted it? I bet it still tasted great and he knows you love him! And hey, it makes for a great story for your blog now and for years to come! :-) Don't be so hard on yourself! Wait till you're at a post with a high altitude! ;-) Remember that you are loved, not by what you do, but for the unique person you are.

A Daring Adventure

Thank you, Laurie! You're too sweet! And yes, the cake was completely and totally cool... almost cold, even... when I frosted it! Somehow the frosting was too thin or something. Soooooo lame!


I panicked for Sophie's birthday, too. I had one box of gluten-free cake mix left so I had no room for error The frosting started to slide so I left it on the counter under the air conditioning going full-blast until party time. Then we realized about twice as many people were coming as had actually RSVP'd, but luckily we do have bakeries here with decent Western-style cakes so we picked up a variety of slices.

One of the restaurants here has the slogan "Enjoy the taste of food!" Sometimes you have to forget the appearance and just go with it! I'm sure the family appreciated your work.

Nomads By Nature

My daughter and I are giggling - not at your things and stuff, but that we made a similar cake, in China no less. We had issues with the cake part too, not just the frosting, and happened to be celebrating a big birthday and had company over... So... we just renamed it to Puddle Cake which was more accurate to its appearance and made it sound a bit fancier. Sorry yours puddled as well after so much work on such an emotional day. And Happy Birthday to your eldest!


You are way too hard on yourself Kolbi!
I'm sure the cake tasted great, and that is absolutely all that matters.


I hope you found it appropriately amusing at the time!

Email From The Embassy

I, for one, love the cake. And you!


Just so you know I would have been sobbing hysterically while trying to scrape off the old frosting so I could try again. I am totally nuts when it comes to things like that. I bet it tasted fine anyway, after all it was made with love.


So sorry it got all thin on you. Yeah, I like Shannon, would have cried too. I had a similar fail for my son's birthday and I just sat down and had a good cry before fixing my mess. We had a good time anyway though and hope you did too. I know your son appreciated it! Happy Birthday to Matthew!


Lady. You made a cake. From SCRATCH! FROM SCRATCH!!!

Who FLIPPING cares about the frosting!

I bow down ...

I bow down ...

Cindy H

I ditto Jill!!

Would it be quite insensitive of me to gloat that in his pre-teens my son switched from requesting birthday cake to birthday pumpkin pie? Do you realize how much easier pumpkin pie is than birthday cake??!! No more lopsided off-balance layers, no more frosting. Jackpot!!!!!

But, I don't want to be insensitive to your pain....but I gotta tell you, those pictures made me belly-laugh!


oh thank goodness you're back with stories and photos to make us laugh and cry! and, really, way to go on the three-layer cake in the first place :-). happy birthday Matthew!

Matt Keene

Oh, man. I'm trying not to laugh at that cake misfortune, but I'm spewing my coffee...

The comments to this entry are closed.

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. 

Become a Fan

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