Monday, December 7, 2009

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music, fa la la la

Enjoy the pics from my quick tour of the city center in Vienna, Austria. I arrived at 8:30am and took a quick and easy train to the city center. The free map was fabulous and I had no trouble walking around the entire city. I returned for the 4pm train back to the airport and was able to do some work before leaving for Tel Aviv.
WWII Monument
Sculpture Garden leading up to the Belvedere


Johann Strauss


One of five Christmas Markets I atteneded - this one is at the Rathaus which has an Advent Calendar

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lobbying for more TREATS!

Thatcher has been unimpressed with the number of treats we have been feeding her since her vet appointment last week. In response to her "diet" she decided to take to the streets and lobby Congress - here are the photos from her adventure with Reagan.

Waiting in the kitchen for more treats

Reagan taking to the Library of Congress for research

Thatcher is ready to take on Congress

Reagan shows his support

With no results, Thatcher looks to the Supreme Court for a resolution

Matt with Reagan & Thatcher at the Library of Congress - someone had to help them since they don't have opposable thumbs

Monday, November 16, 2009

Domestic Travel?

Well, as shocked as I was to learn of my trip out west, I was happy about only dealing with a 3 hour time difference. I was able to meet with my supplier, who is acting as a wholeseller for the materials that I am in need of for my project over in the West Bank. Because of this I was off to Wyoming and then Los Angeles - yes, the City of Angels. I had a blast in Casper, WY eating at the Casper Petroleum Club and viewing my supplier's facilities. LA was interesting. Can you say TOO MANY LANES OF TRAFFIC ON THE EXPRESSWAY?! Thankfully it was Vetran's Day so the traffic was light, or I would have pulled a Clueless scene by freaking out and subsequently pulling off the freeway. I had a blast at California Steel where I was able to see the final run of pipe being produced before changing sizes for manufacturing. What a great facility and production line they have. I also had a couple of hours to see the Pacific Ocean and Redondo Beach. Enjoy the pictures!!

My supplier's "trophy room"

my supplier's office - he shot a rogue elephant, I'm sitting on it's feet!

very tame deer in Casper, WY

Doing what I do BEST!

The Pacific Ocean with one of my suppliers

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back in DC

Well, it has been a little while since I've updated you all on the happenings of my family. Now that I have returned to the states, live has become quite a whirlwind of adventures. The dogs are taking to life in DC and have a fabulous park to play in and new doggie friends. Reagan had a great time playing with a Great Dane this weekend which had the entire park in stiches as they watched. Thatcher had her first taste of freedom in a semi closed off area of the park playing with two new friends. We hope that this becomes more of a regular occurance. She also heard what we believe to be her first sound. A fire engine horn. While this frightened her, it gave us hope that we might be able to find a device that can blow a similiar sound at the same frequency and we may be able to train her to be off leash at the park and to do trick, etc.
Matt is enjoying life at his new job and has joined a networking group. The winter will prove to be busy for him but come his 31st birthday we should be celebrating! He is enjoying his walks home from work which lead him past the White House, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums and of course the Capitol. Matt's only complaint has come now that it's football season, we can't watch the Patriots as they are no longer the local team and well, who wants to watch the Redskins?

I am loving my new position and enjoying all that DC has to offer. We were able to visit F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave on Friday night, my favorite author, and attend a fabulous event to support local sports (like rec sports in Maine). We are in LOVE with DC life.

Enjoy the pics!


Lobster Boil

4 year Anniversary

POV - drinks overlooking the White House
F. Scott Fitzgerald's plot
Snow White
Jack Sparrow

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Med Sea

After a long and crazy week, this evening was the perfect reward for all the hard work...watching the sunset over the Med Sea. Dinner was amazing at the Mantra Bay restaurant. My boss, our country manager and I sat outside on the deck while watching the sun set and the waves crash on the beach. Dinner was AMAZING! The wine was so refreshing and the food just so mmmmm. Shrimp with figs and cheeze - yum! What a relaxing evening - only two more proposals to do and then it's homeward bound!
Sunset over Med Sea in Tel Aviv
Bruce & I at dinner at Mantra Bay on the beach

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So Today I spoke with a President...

Yup, the adventures in Ramallah continue. Things in the office are CRAZY! We have submitted four proposals and have four more to go but even with a looming deadline, my boss, Tony and I were able to break from our business to shake hands with President Carter and explain our work here in the West Bank. Tony turned into a marketing guy and explained who we were and what we were doing in the West Bank and Pres. Carter's response was to go to Gaza and continue our great work. So President Carter, small problem - our government won't let us - minor detail. So for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Working the Beat

Today started as any other day or so I thought. I received my 2nd passport so now I can get a stamp when I enter into Israel - little problem I never realized that my 1st passport had my last name spelled wrong so now I have to get them both fixed - item 1 on my things to do when I return to the states. Then it was off to Ramallah to work. I was anticipating and still am a long day. Around 3pm a press conference was starting to take place in our complex and I was checking out the window while working on spreadsheets. Well wouldn't you know that President Jimmy Carter and Reverend Tutu of South Africa were there. Come to find out the Carter Peace Center is in our building. When the press conference was over and we turned to leave, Richard Branson walked by and said hi. I was like that's Richard Branson - oh my!!!! Now it's back to spreadsheets and negotiations but what a great afternoon treat during Ramadan!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sorry for the Delay

Finally a new post since I have yet to post since I arrived back in Jerusalem. Matt seems to be holding down the fort in DC and has started his new job this week. Yeah! I'm again traveling daily to Ramallah and thankfully have not run into any problems at the checkpoints. The country manager has come up with a plan - our CDM magnetic stickers go on the truck and I remove my sunglasses when approaching the soldiers....sometimes I wink at them:) Just kidding but I tease Bruce, our country manager about it. When we have a little trouble I tell him that I flipped off the soldiers. Ha ha! Right now it is Ramadan. It started yesterday and by default we have all be following it - not on purpose but because we have been too busy to eat! So each night we have an iftar...when you break the fast. Tonight we ate at the hotel and they set up a HUGE buffet worth $30. Now I'm used to the Bonanza buffet and this was much smaller in scale so I decided that I would rather spend $30 on wine then food, even after fasting all day. I had this fabulous fish instead and of course...HUMMUS! Can't go a meal without fabulous olives and hummus. The other highlights of my trip have been to the American Embassy to apply for my 2nd passport, as I don't get my passport stamped when I travel here because I will be traveling to places such as Libya that won't allow me in their country with an Israeli stamp. I should have it sometime this coming week - or at least we hope before I return home! When I first arrived, I went to Herodian with Bruce which was nice but no other travels to write home about - just the hotel and work. I did get to view a french film with english subtitles but the entire time I felt like my high school French teacher was watching me to see if I was reading the subtitles or if I understood the film. I'm proud to say that I understood a lot more than I anticipated and didn't read as much as I thought that I would have. The two films were HORRIBLE - about 1 and a half hours of my life I can never get back, but a fun experience.

My first local friend, Telel

Herodian Mountain, King Herod's Summer Home

Aquaducts at Herodian, which were later used by the Jews to hide from the Romans

CDM team, Bruce our Country Manager and my boss Tony in the "camel tent" at our hotel

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Welcome to Washington DC!

we've arrived - us at dinner on Barracks Row

The Penske truck arrived Thursday night and in the midst of 100 degree weather it was time to unpack. What a long and exciting weekend we had. Jon rode down with Matt and helped unpack the truck and Jennie arrived on Friday to assist with the dogs and help unpack and organize. Jennie was a huge help with the dogs and even was dinner for a billion mosquitos. The mosquitos are worse here then in the Maine woods! Unpacking is coming along but it's hard to go from our fabulous Fitchburg home to our mini hill condo. I discovered that my friend Tessa is only three blocks away - nice surprise and that Eastern Market is a hidden jewel with fabulous fresh produce, meats and on the weekends amazing artists and street vendors. Here are some pics to catch you up on life in DC.

My living room

Fabulous galley kitchen with pocket door
Eastern Market on the weekends
Matt still can't believe that we can see this from the dog park 1 block away

Monday, August 10, 2009

The doggies have arrived in DC!

We descended upon DC on Thursday evening and began unloading the truck into Friday. What a humid weekend to pick for a move. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent with some unpacking and some exploring. We've found a fun dog part as well as a fabulous market to frequent. The people in our little community are super friendly and we are looking forward to see what the future brings as we settle into our new life in DC.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Locals Found

What a strangely fun evening I had last night. I returned from work needing a little break so it was off to the hotel bar for a glass of red wine and some pleasure reading (The Shack recommended by Matt). It was so nice to enjoy the evening breeze and listen to the sounds of Jerusalem. Upon finishing my wine and snacking on olives - they are soooo good - I was engaged in conversation by two local gentleman. A little harmless conversation turned into an exciting evening. I stayed out way too late and drank too much wine - at least for me. There were a number of people who stopped by our table and I got to meet many interesting people from local business men to ex-pats working for different agencies from around the world. A very interesting evening which was thoroughly enjoyed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Old City Take 2

So after putting in around 5 hours of work this morning it was off to the Old City to give it another shot. My driver arrived promptly at 1pm and we were off. We parked and on our walk up to the gate we ran into his cousin - perfect, two tour guides. Off we go! We entered where the Via Dolorosa starts and did all of the stations. Now I must say that there are some stations that I believe occurred in those locations but other stations I can't quite picture how after all of these years it was documents and marked where Veronica wipes the sweat from Jesus' face. I understand the significance of Jerusalem and Bethleham but it should be that Jesus walked these streets and this is where miracles occured. I just can't buy into some of the locations are the exact locations since Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written years after his death. I believe that being here you can feel his presense but wonder if he is looking down thinking that this place where so many people from different back grounds come to feel closer to him and there is so much fighting and hatred here between the Palistians and Israelis. It must bring such sadness for him to see.

site of Jesus' burial and resurrection inside - housed in it's own chapel
After the cliff notes version of Via Dolorosa (I'm teaching my driver some important words and concepts such as cliff notes and adventures) we went to this shop for shwarmi. He said that it is the most famous in Jerusalem. It was turkey in a pita with veggies. The turkey is cooked on a spit and shaved off. It was delicious.

my splurge necklace from yesterday

Now back to the hotel to work.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amanda Needs a Local

I walked to the Old City from my hotel. The walk is not too far, just lots of hills. I arrived at the New Gate and entered into the market place. It is CRAZY! Tons of shops on either side of the little walkways and things are hanging up and the colors are vibrant. The shop owners are for the most part very nice - offering you to come and look and reminding you that looking is free :) I did have a few grab my arm which wasn't okay, but for the most part I had a great shopping day. I wanted to find my way into other parts of the city and happened to be walking where the muslims were going to pray and was stopped by a local alerting me to this was a mistake that I was about to make; so he took me to the side and said let me show you some great views. Oh boy. We start walking towards the higher levels to get a view of the Old City and he says I love you. I say I am married. He says that I am too young - ugh! So I decide that I have to ditch this guy and fast. Then walking back towards the gate as I had decided that I should not be there alone and I have more guys saying I love you can you come to dinner with me. Ugh! Enough! So I get to the gate and grab a cab back to my hotel.

Lunch with my co-worker and his family was fabulous. All of his children from around 7th grade to college knew english very well. It was fun talking with them. They are all such beautiful kids - especially the girls. The lunch was fabulous - rice with chicken and carrots. Yeah! Then it was tea and cookies before I headed back to the hotel to work.

Today wasn't a fabulous day - I guess that I should have learned to just call my driver as he had instructed. Oh well, day off for him - tomorrow though he will have to show me the Old City in four hours as we've got lots of work to do!