Friday, September 15, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
In my 7 years serving in the Foreign Service, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel the world. I bought quite a few things, probably too many things, to remember each place. Since I like to wear tee shirts, I tried to buy one from different places I visited. It was a way of getting a souvenir that I could actually use and not just put on a shelf.
A couple of years ago, I went to a craft fair at a local high school and ran across a lady who turned tee shirts into quilts. I fell in love with her work! It took me 2 years to finally have the shirts together that I wanted made into a quilt. I know…life gets in the way of great plans.
I contacted Melinda and made an appointment to meet with her and go over my future quilt. What an amazingly nice lady! I spend about an hour or so going over different fabrics, colors of fabrics that would go between the panels of my shirts, the backing, what I wanted stitched along the border and what I wanted stitched across each of the shirts from different countries. The result was much more than I expected! I knew it was going to be beautiful based on the quilts she had on display at the craft fair. Around the border, she stitched the different countries the tee shirts were from. Across each shirt, she stitched something I said about it or a design. On the back, which is dark blue, you can see more detail on what is stitched over the shirts on the front. And because she stitched the design over each tee shirt, there will be no shrinking or shifting of the shirt.
I know I’ll be using this quilt this winter and many winters to come. One friend said “You aren’t going to use it, are you?” I said “Hell yes! Why wouldn’t I?”
If any of my Foreign Service friends wonder what to do with their tee shirts from their travels, contact this wonderful lady. She will Skype with you!
|See the camel stitching?|
|I grew up in Coronado.|
|I love the plate of pasta for Italy!|
|First Turkey Trot in Oman with shell stitching|
|Had to include my tee shirt from the Foreign Service|
|Sally and I did have an adventure in Sri Lanka!|
|On my way to Retirement I made a short stop...the reference to "Thanks Dad" is because he was born in Greece.|
If you think you might want one of these quilts made with your shirts, below is the contact information for Melinda. It's not cheap, but it is something you'll treasure forever! And it doesn't have to be just travel. She does beautiful quilts with your son or daughter's team shirts or vacations, like what is on her card below. She went with her family to Disneyland. What a great way to remember a special trip!
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Retirement. Sometimes it’s a permanent thing and other times it’s, well, temporary. For me, as a retired State Department employee, it’s an on again, off again thing. When I retired in 2014, I signed on to be called for temporary duty assignments worldwide. In 2015, I spent a week in Singapore, in 2016 I was in Brunei for 4½ months, and now I’m in Kuala Lumpur, commonly called KL, for 1½ months. I do enjoy the travel, meeting new people, using my skills again and earning a bit of cash.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia as well as the country’s largest city. The weather here is that of a tropical rain forest climate from March to October. It rains nearly every day so you always have your umbrella with you. Temperatures year round are pretty constant, 75-90 degrees. The city is very lush with plenty of green space and modern architecture.
Last weekend I went to the Central Market. I’ve been to many market places around the world and this one was as fun as any other I’ve visited. It was quite calm compared to Istanbul or Muscat, where you hear a constant chatter from vendors and the smells of food, incense and who knows what fill the air. This market had wonderful shops and at times, I felt I was back in Muscat!Pashminas, paper mache camels and ornaments and rugs were everywhere. And then there was a shop that had the beautiful painted ceramics from Turkey. I left Istanbul with a suitcase filled with them! I also came across a shop that sold the coconut bowls from Vietnam, I think…polished on the outside and painted on the inside and decorated with mother of pearl or crushed egg shell. I’m going home with plenty of these! I’ll definitely make another run at this market before I depart KL.
Last night I had dinner with a co-worker at an open air restaurant, Fuego, with a spectacular view of the city skyline. It was cloudy so we missed a great sunset but the surrounding buildings provided a beautiful blend of colorful lights that more than made up for the lack of a golden sunset. The Petronas Twin Towers were lit up like diamonds, as was the space needle-like building. It had jewel tone colors changing every few seconds. Unfortunately, we could only see one of the Petronas Towers because there’s another very tall building under construction, blocking its twin. The food was delicious, the company perfect and the views spectacular. It was the first time I’ve had a margarita with no ice, a grilled lemon slice as garnish and served in a martini glass. But it was tasty.
Unlike Brunei last year where I lived in a very large house, while in KL, I’m living in a hotel room with a kitchenette. It’s quite comfortable and I am able to do some cooking on the 2 burner cook top and the microwave. Fortunately, there is a restaurant and the food is pretty good…and quite cheap. I can get a great teriyaki chicken breast, roasted potatoes and a salad for about $9.00US. Not bad at all. Last week, at about 9:00 pm, the fire alarm went off in the hotel. It was an alarm like none I’ve ever heard…sounded like a very loud motor with the noise rising and falling. It turns out there was no fire. Someone was frying something in their kitchenette and didn’t turn on the overhead fan and the smoke set off the alarm. The last time something like that happened, I was in Karachi. Someone in the apartment building started frying bacon and then decided to take a shower. The bacon burned, smoked like crazy and set off the fire alarm. The entire building was evacuated into the very hot sun outside. Marines were in full gear and no one knew what was happening…just that we had to get out of the building fast. Not a fun experience, especially in Pakistan! I doubt that person will every leave the frying pan while cooking bacon again.
As much as I enjoy these infrequent working trips and travel opportunities, I do think I’ll make retirement permanent when I get home. I love the travel, the money and the opportunity to see things I wouldn’t otherwise see, but I love being retired even more. I love that every day is Saturday. I love doing whatever I want, whenever I want. I have enough airline miles to travel to Europe if I want or make several trips to Oregon to spend time with my 3 grandsons. Life is too short and at my age, I need to be enjoying it every day. I’ve earned it.