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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Nomads By Nature

Priceless! And Happy Belated Birthday!


There's a first time for everything, right? And this is a birthday you won't soon forget ...


We'll soon see how much dear husband has in common with dear father, who, as soon as he shaved his beard off, looked at himself in the mirror, declared, "Oh, ick!" or something even more self-deprecating, and began growing it back before he'd even left the bathroom.

The photos of China are truly beautiful, picture post cards awaiting publication. Am I finally, NOW tempted to visit such a gorgeous place?

Perhaps wearing The Ruby Slippers.

Aw,nah! There's no place like home, and home's bathroom.


Happy Belated Birthday, Colby! Using a squatty potty in public places is a survival skill in some parts of the world. Good on you for getting it down (no pun intended)!


Congrats! (And happy birthday!)


That is an exciting accomplishment!

How fun to go and see Matthew play basketball.

Happy Birthday to my squatting friend.

Sarah Green

Well, if you didn't pee on your clothes, then I'd say you gave yourself a very good present indeed.

We sometimes encounter toilets just like yours here in Moscow, and I have more than once thought that I would like it if there were a nice clean one here at the Embassy that I could practice on, you know, so that if I did miss I could race home, or at least change my clothes in a clean American restroom with soap and towels and everything.

Happy Birthday!


And now you know why I always had two things in my purse when we lived in Jakarta: Baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Congratulations on your new squatty potty skills! Happy Birthday!


Glad your birthday was a good one, in which you were surrounded by loving family and confronted your inadequacies like the beautiful fish that you are. :)

And if you ever have to GO in the woods, you'll find it much simpler and cleaner than any potty, western or Chinese. Because you can lean against a tree, and you can choose an unused spot, and because big, bugless leaves make fabulous "tissues".


You certainly are having an daring adventure using one of those toilets. Enough to make you keep crossing your legs for as long as you can. Anyway glad you had a good birthday, a piscis just like me!

Bread maker Guy

Hey that reminds me of the toilets in France many years ago. It was literally a hole in the ground with foot marks.

My daughter refused to use one it was so bad.

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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