Tuesday, October 30, 2007

a reminder of why I love my job

I do have updates to post on Macedonia and Albania, but I arrived in Athens today and just have to share. I met an old boss from Sarajevo and she insisted we head upstairs to the bar in my hotel for one drink before dinner. The reason? We had a stunning view of the Acropolis lit up at night looking so close I felt we could reach out and touch it. This isn't my picure (because I'm on a dummy terminal in a hotel business center that won't let me upload), but it could be:

I'm tired of being on planes, but that kind of view is the reason I love my job. It is a happy reminder of why given the latest and greatest about directed assignments to Iraq. I'm not bidding this year, but my heart goes out to those who are bidding. We're all just watching to see how this plays out and how the Department chooses the people on the shortlist...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Walking in Memphis

So the party was awesome. A complete surprise. My mom was SHOCKED and I have the photos to prove it (will upload later). The family was also very complimentary about the changes in mom's house (especially the bathroom) which made that last crazy week before they arrived totally worth the work.

The road trip was fabulous. We saw Carrie Underwood and others at the Grand Ole Opry. I don't know the others because I don't listen to country music, but the show was definitely a fun experience. Memphis is a wonderful city, and I got tons of great new decorating ideas during the Graceland tour. Well OK, not really, but the house was smaller and much less tacky than I had expected, and the downstairs bar was just kind of cool. The Sun Studio tour was definitely the highlight of the trip; I highly recommend it if you are ever in Memphis. One attraction I'm devastated we missed? Foamhenge in Virginia. Really- look at the link and wonder...

We got back into town about 45 minutes before the start of my 15 year high school reunion so that was an adventure (especially as two friends were bunking with me that night). Despite my driving fatigue, that party was also a blast and left me wishing for nothing but rest on Sunday. Needless to say, I'm behind on my Cure, but I have high hopes I can get back on track this week and finish with the group.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

phase 1 complete

Family all arrived safely last night and mom was delighted and surprised! Now if we can only keep the party a secret for the next 10 hours...

In the meantime, I thought I would share more pics of mom's house.

the framed pen and inks my sister made:

the framed calendar pages showing aerial views of Dublin:

the newly green room as a whole:

The green was chosen to coordinate with the window treatments which, while not my cup of tea, make my mother very happy. We also pulled up very old, creamy white wall-to-wall carpeting in that room; the hardwood floors are a definitely improvement despite their age. The family was all very complimentary and I like that my Mom has a new room because she's been in a bit of a rut since my dad passed away two years ago.

I'll post some pictures of the party later this weekend. Hope everyone is having a happy Saturday!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

ta da: the new bathroom

of course, I have no before pictures, but trust me- this is an improvement!

we replaced this floor cabinet:

with this wall unit to open up the space in this tiny bathroom:

Here are more pictures of my mom's new bathroom (please excuse the weird merge wiggles but the room is so small it is hard to get a decent angle)...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

finally- photographic evidence of progess

OK, I know it isn't much, but we are so happy with the newly discovered brass. I haven't taken pics of the new bathroom and mom's bedroom because we have pictures to hang- hopefully tomorrow. regardless, looking at this picture is making me smile...

Monday, October 1, 2007

progress, ever progress

My "frantic clean up before the family descends on Friday night" contiunes apace, and this weekend was surprisingly productive despite the fact that Sunday was the 2nd anniversary of my father's death. All painting in my mom's house is finished, and the bathroom is done (except for the deep-clean she has planned for tomorrow). We got frames for the artwork mom wants to hang in her room; they look wonderful and are ready to be hung tonight. My clean laundry situation is being addressed, and so my living room should return to normal by tomorrow evening at the latest.

We've gotten 32 "yes" RSVPs and are still waiting to hear from another 18 invitees, so the party on Saturday should be a big success (though goodness knows what I'm going to wear!) My mom continues to have no idea that her siblings are heading out here- I'm hoping the surprise will make all this absurd housework worth it in the end. Note to self- the next time you decide to undertake a total redo of someone else's space, don't also plan a huge surprise party and visit to take place in said space!