Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bridging the Years

So clearly R&R has not been the time/internet connection/inspiration I needed to get my blog up to date.  Yet.  There's still some time.  The hectic part of R&R is over, and now I should have plenty of time to rest and write and catch up on movies and TV.  And to mail the myriad things I've purchased back to KSA. 

A driving force behind the timing and length of this R&R was the desire to be home to help my mom as she had total knee replacement surgery.  My FB friends have been kept up to date, but all went well with surgery and the initial recovery, and she's at home now.  She's up and walking around and is on track for a great recovery.

I am one of the few people on earth who truly enjoys spending time in hospitals (especially when I'm not the patient), and this was no exception.  And after five knee surgeries, I know my way around this particular hospital.  (Though I only had three of them there, on reflection.)  Timing worked in my favor when a friend conveniently had her baby while I was at the hospital, so I get to meet the precious wee one on her first full day in the world!

So 2012 is off to an exciting start.  I will leave Jeddah this summer and move to Kampala, via home leave and Con Gen.  I am excited about all to come!  My brother is getting married while I'm on home leave (ah, the fun for FS folks of cajoling friends and relatives into leave-conducive matrimonial dates), so I've been getting up to speed on the planning and working on my role (I'm the officiant).  A very exciting summer indeed!

Kampala looms closer, especially since my transfer schedule has been approved.  I have been amazed by and appreciative of my future colleagues in Kampala who have reached out with offers of question-answering and advice and helped me start some of the transfer logistics processes.  This.  Totally.  Rocks.

And thanks to Carla at Carla Runs the World, I have fallen in love with this little techno-gadget

2011 was a good year.  I lived entirely in one place for the entire year, for the first time in a long time.  I spent time in seven countries on three continents, plus airports in two other countries on another continent.  I got to attend the weddings of two cousins and spend quality time with family and friends, including reuniting with one of my childhood best friends.  Work has been challenging, engaging, and enjoyable, and I am lucky to have some great coworkers who make the days feel shorter and fill them with laughter.  PAS is the fun section, as we always say.  And, of course, I have two healthy, happy kittens who add just the right amount of snuggle and play into each day.  (Who I miss very much right now...)

And can I just say that I am SO, SO psyched to be moving to the land of safari!!  Safari makes everything better.  I love, love, LOVE watching animals in their natural habitat.   It's one of the very few acceptable reasons to wake up before dawn.  Perhaps the only one.  Watching for deer on the highway just isn't the same thing.  Though I do get a little thrill whenever I spot (and don't hit!) a live one :-).

Life is good.  Sure, there are things that could go better.  There always are.  But, overall, I am extremely contented with life.  And it doesn't get much better than that!  Wishing you the same in 2012.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

You're Welcome Virginia

Retailers throughout Virginia are rejoicing this week after my whirlwind shopping tour of the area.  They're off to a great start in 2012 profits.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Coach and Williams Sonoma outlets in Leesburg??

My whirlwind tour - 1400 miles in six days - brought me to NJ to visit a dear family friend, to WV to drop off my grandmother and visit my aunt and uncle and their assorted menagerie, and then to VA-DC-MD for a few days of shopping, sightseeing, and friendseeing.  It was blissful.

I answered the eternal question - is vision insurance worth it? - by saving $800 on two and half new pairs of glasses.  That's a whopping $700 savings once I factor in premium costs.  And one of my eyes actually got better this year - yay!

I went to the Celtics game in DC on January 1st and watched my beloved boys in green get their first win of the season.  I always get much better (and cheaper) seats in DC than in Boston to see the Celtics.  About 40% of the stadium was also rooting for the Celts, which is pretty amazing for an away game. 

Yesterday I stocked up on goodies at Trader Joe's, which is pretty much the greatest store ever.  Then I headed to Annapolis to meet up with friends - namely my partner in mischief and adventure from my South Africa days and her wonderful husband.  We had an awesome time and laughed and laughed and reminisced and caught up and had a blast.  Looking forward to having them visit me in Uganda!

And today, on my way back to NH, I had the perfect drive with no traffic and no delays, arriving home exactly 8 hours after I left VA.  That, my friends, is a record.  It's usually closer to 10-12 hours. 

I leave you now with some pictures of the triumphant Celtics and my beautiful new Coach acquisition.  A 2011 reflection post still to come...

Paul Pierce is back!

Rajon Rondo!

My favorite commentators preparing for the big game

My favorite photo!

Ray Allen!

The Big 4!

The Big 4 - sort of.

Doc Rivers!

Final score - a win for the Celts!

My newest acquisition

The photos don't do it justice; the color is magnificent