Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Our Nile Cruise

Starting in Cairo, we sailed to Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Aswan.

Trouble at Sea: Our Red Sea Dive Trip in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, but Saudi Arabia is a very restrictive country to get into. That alone would have made the trip memorable...but then things went south and the Saudi Coast Guard and a hospital got involved.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Discovering Turkey

We emersed ourselves in Istanbul, explored the white travertines of Pamukkale, and traced history through Laodikeia, Hierolopolis, and Cleopatra's Baths.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snow Days

What a week. The MLK holiday snowstorm led to a closure of Federal offices Tuesday and 2-hr delay on Wednesday. So a 4-day week got compressed into 2.75. And let's not forget to mention the Fairfax county school closures. Schools were closed Monday through Thursday and had a 2-hour delay on Friday. Which, for Kacey, meant that she only got a 90-minute reprieve from our energetic 4-yr-old who would have otherwise been in half-day pre-K for the entire week. As you might have calculated, taking two hours away from an already short schedule means that there's roughly enough time to drop her off, drive home in traffic snarled by iced over roads, brush your teeth, then drive back through the mess for pickup. Fortunately, we also have her enrolled in an after-school enrichment class for cooking that occurs on Fridays, so that kept her busy until mid-afternoon.

On the bright side, we've gotten several opportunities to go sledding. Being Floridians, we normally don't keep a sled in the garage. Instead, Greg improvised and we used one of those rubberized canvas banners that you might see hung on a street lamp advertising a major sporting event (in this case, it was the Head of the Charles regatta from over a decade ago). That worked pretty well, but we thought that cardboard might work also. It didn't. I mean, it did slide down the hill with us on it, but with minimal speed. And how are you going to burnout a week's worth of energy bottled up in a little kid by running up and sliding down a hill without the thrill of speed to motivate them? So, we switched back to the rubberized canvas banner and this was the result:

Exhausted from sledding

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

How To Break The Internet

How to break the internet: By making a vine of a tumblr post you imbed in a tweet that updates to facebook with a link to your blog you posted on google+ telling people...
At this point the vine loops back on itself, and if I could read that first sentence fast enough, the sentence would never end.

Lessons learned:
1) Vine is kind of frustrating. For some reason, I had a hard time focusing the camera which is a little ironic since you have to be mentally focused to get your joke to fit in 6 seconds. I just couldn't fit it all in. Which really just highlights a personal trait I've been meaning to work on: self-editing. For instance, I probably should of ended this thought at the last sentence, but I continued on with this one unnecessarily.

2) I think I'm going to like using Tumblr for the one-off snapshots that I want to share, but not feel required to write a supporting blog post about it. I poked around on the customization of the layout just long enough to determine that I don't really care if it's customized and reverted everything back to the default style.

3) Twitter, oh, twitter. I'm not a celebrity and I'm not connected. So, twitter's probably just going to be a repository of my inner voice and a tumblr fowarding service. Yes, I know tumblr can share directly to facebook, but why not set up the accounts to auto-forward and have instant presence on two sites for half the work?

4) Facebook, you're becoming where I point all these new toys just because that's the only place I know people actually read my stuff. But even then, lots of folks I know aren't using you any more and they have accounts on the other social networks, so I might catch them other there. But you're still great for Candy Crush.

5) This blog is actually starting to come together now that I've almost figured out how best to integrate my travel photos. Hooray for minor victories.

6) And google+...basically only there to share these blog posts with the few friends who've decided to leave facebook and almost a good way to store and share my travel photos. If only they'd install a toggle to let me sort the folders either alphabetically or chronologically as needed.


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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Places, 2013

So, these are the countries that I visited for the first time in 2013:
Bringing me up to: ?? countries. Not that I'm counting...I probably should though.

And here's the Frequent Flier status I earned this year, which I mention only for kicks (because frequent flyer status doesn't really get you much these days):
OneWorld Status: Ruby
Star Alliance Status: Silver
Sky Team Status: Elite
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Saudi Arabia: So Far, So Good?

We're over two years in to our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It's hard...

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