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Where did 2008 go?

Other than wedding details, I see that I have not updated this since my sister’s visit to Paris. 
So….after Megan left it was time for Troy and I to get ready for pack out. But…there had to be a party first! Our wonderful friends, Amber and Lucia hosted a lovely party for us with a wonderful spread of Mexican food! It was a lot of fun and our friends brought us some nice gifts…

And some fun gifts...

Our new raincoats... :-)

French license plate since we couldn't keep ours.

Everyone had a lot of fun and we are so grateful to Amber and Lucia...


I was very sad to leave Paris.  I still think about our time there a lot and miss it very much.

Once back in the frozen tundra, we spent a few days in MN/WI and then began our looooooooong drive to our new home in Seattle.  Other than a horrible snowstorm in Montana the trip went pretty well.  Troy could only stay in WA for a week before he had to head back to Paris for a month (miscommunication with the government).  Loki and I got to explore a  bit of our new town, Renton.  We are walking distance from a lot of stores, restaurants and bars so we are very happy with that.

My first visitor was my dear friend Theresa.  I have pictures of that visit somewhere... We had a great visit and got to experience the not so great bus ride to and from downtown Seattle.  Not  worth saving the $40 by taking a taxi!

Theresa and I at Chateau St Michelle


People have been asking for details on our upcoming wedding...
We are getting married at a private ceremony at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina on Friday December 5, 2008.  We are having a reception Saturday January 31, 2009 in Minneapolis.

We are registered at the following places:
Bed Bath and Beyond
Williams Sonoma
Crate and Barrel

If you would like, in lieu of a gift you can make a donation in our name to:

Denver Dumb Friends League (www.ddfl.org)
Washington Alaskan Malamute Adoption League (www.wamal.com)

For people who do not know, we adopted Loki from Denver Dumb Friends League in 2001 and our newest member of our family, Miyah, was adopted from Washington Alaskan Malamute Adoption League in 2008.

If we personally do not get back to you on your congrats, we apologize and we thank you.


Troy and I are getting married!
We are having a private ceremony at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and then having a party back in MN!

I know, I know!

 It's been a long time! A quick recap...we moved from Paris to Seattle area.  Will update more sometime this week. :-) 

Megan in Paris

My sister visited us in Paris for 2 weeks and we had a great time!  Since she was there for 2 weeks it was a very leisurely visit.  Most people took only a week so it was always on the go to make sure they saw everything.
She arrived New Year's Eve Day.  She was able to take a nap and veg out before our New Year's Eve Party.  Lots of champagne was drank and a lot of dancing was done.  I think the last people left about 4 AM.

For more pictures from New Year's Eve click here

New Year's Day was a day of recovery.  We were invited to a turkey dinner at our friend's, Lucia, house.  Her first week was spent just walking around Paris and eating. Oh and drinking wine. :-)  Here is Megan after a day of shopping and window shopping eating a hot dog in the park across from the Embassy...

Megan and I on a bridge (Eiffel Tower in the background) on our way to eat in the Latin Quarter.

Saturday was my Birthday and Megan I spent the day at Versailles.  As always, love Versailles and it ended up being Megan's favorite place.  We saw parts of it that I missed on the first few visits.

Self portrait on Marie Antoinette's Estate

That night Troy planned a get together withour friends at our favorite restaurant in Paris....Le Relais de Venise l'Entrecote

I am sure I have mentioned this in previous entries...all they serve is steak and fries.  You sit down and the waitress asks how you want your steak done and what kind of wine you would like.  The sauce is delicious and a family secret.  The owner comes in before any employees and makes the sauce. Sooooooo yummy!

Megan and Sumreen

One end of the table...Nate, Kurt, Lucia and Jenny

The other end of the table...Amber, Nickie, Troy, Megan and Sumreen

Blowing out the candle on my birthday profiteroles

After dinner we returned to our apartment for champagne, presents and angel food cake that Megan was nice enough to make (Angel Food Cake is my favorite!)

Sunday we went on the tour of Champagne Domi Moreau.  I think this was my 5th time there.  Still love it!  Going to miss it.

Megan and I in front of the giant bottle of Champagne

Megan taste testing 2 of their champagnes

Megan was ready to take this bottle filled with Champagne

Megan's second week in Paris started of with the Louvre and another hot dog in the park...this time with cheese....

and more champagne at our home...

Megan and I at Sacre Coeur

Megan checking the sights of Paris from Sacre Coeur

After a day at the Orsay we had an evening of Fondue...

and more champagne...

An evening at the Eiffel Tower....

During the winter they have a snow maker and snow shoes on the second floor so you can snow shoe around on the Eiffel Tower....

Megan with a snowball....

Megan's last day in Paris was spent at Notre Dame, Père Lachaise Cemetery, the Holocaust Memorial and dinner out in the Latin Quarter.

Megan and I enjoying wine at Demi Lune

Megan's escargot

And..........more champagne...........

It was a fantastic visit and I was very happy to show my sister the city that I love.  

For more pictures of Megan's trip click here

We are throwing in the towel...

Troy and I are finally leaving the foreign service.  Our last day in Paris is February 1st and we'll be in MN/WI area for a couple of weeks.  Then we are off to Seattle!  Troy went out to Seattle a couple of weeks ago and found us a cute house to rent in a suburb of Seattle called Renton.
I am sad to leave Paris but excited to start our new adventure!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! 

Paris Scavenger Hunt

 My friend Jill introduced us to meetup.com and I joined thinking it would be a great way to meet people.  Troy and I went to one of the happy hours that was set up through the American expat meetup group.  It was not what we expected, very segregated and the organizer was not exactly welcoming.  Anyway, I still receive the e-mails and review them for something interesting.  An interesting event did come up and we decided to do it.  It was a Paris Scavenger hunt and we got a couple of friends to go with us.  It was put on by Ravenchase (www.ravenchase.com).  
It started off fun...started in a pub and we had a couple of pints and chatted.  Then we got our clues and rules and headed off...
Here is part of our team "The Diplotards"

Troy, Amber and Wes

After about 90 minutes and still not having answered any of the clues we were not having much fun anymore.  The clues were very hard!  We ran into another group at one point (probably 2 hours into it) and they asked us how many clues we had figured out..."2"..."ya us too"  So we didn't feel too stupid at that point.

Here is the team again after finding our first clue...

I don't have anymore pictures after this.  We were hungry, frustrated and thirsty!  So after 3 hours of running around Paris and still only 2 clues down (out of 7 and you are only allowed 4 hours to finish) we decided to call it a night and head to Fajitas for dinner and drinks.  We never made it to the end point of the scavenger hunt.  I think the Canadians won.


Since Troy was sick on our first trip to Dublin we decided to make another trip and actually see Dublin.  Our first night there was not fun due to priceline.com (I will NEVER use them again, e-mail if you'd like to know why) but once we had a pint and got some sleep we were ready to go!  Friday was a day of drinking tours.  Our first stop was the Guinness Brewery tour.   It was an interesting tour but the best part was....

A gentlemen was nice enough to stop and ask if we wanted him to take a picture of us (would never happen in Paris!)

Then after lunch and a couple more pints we headed to the Jameson Distillery.  While we waited for our tour to start we sat in the Jameson bar and a couple of drinks, Troy of course Jameson and Diet Coke and I had a wonderful Irish Coffee.

This was a guided tour (Guinness was not) and our guide asked for 3 male volunteers and 3 female volunteers for a tasting.  One other woman and myself half volunteered and were half pushed to volunteer by our significant others and were the only female volunteers.  Once we were done with the tour we were lead into the tasting room where all the non-volunteers got to choose from a nice selection of Jameson cocktails.  Those of us that volunteered were sat down at a table with 5 different shots.  3 Irish whiskeys, 1 scotch and 1 American whiskey (Jack Daniels of course).  I was regretting volunteering at this point.  I do not like whiskey or scotch straight.  I was looking longingly at the cocktails and cringing with every sip of my shots, especially the scotch!  Troy took pictures of this and they are not on the computer yet, I will add them here as soon as I can.

 Saturday we were up early to join a tour.  We typically don't do tours but this was recommended by our friend Heider and his girlfriend Lynn and we had a lot of fun with it.  If you are ever in Dublin try the Wild Wicklow tour...

We got to see some Irish countryside, do some shopping and have a nice Irish lunch.  We made one stop to look at a lake and when you got to the edge of the cliff the window was so incredibly strong that it could have knocked you over.  Everyone stood at the edge or near the edge and let the wind push them back.  Here is a picture of Troy and I apologize for it being blurry but it was impossible to hold still with that wind..

All you could hear was the wind and everyone laughing.

The tour ends with a walk through a monastery...

Our last day was spent shopping, lunch of fish and chips and flying home.

More pictures to come...

Salon du Chocolat

 Yesterday, my friend Amber and I went to Salon du Chocolat - The Chocolate Show ( http://www.chocolateshow.com/ ).  There was chocolate from Mexico, Belgium, France and most of it was delicious!  We weren't crazy about the chocolates from Latin America but found many chocolates we loved.  We both bought a box of chocolates from Mademoiselle de Margaux (http://www.mademoiselle-de-margaux-33.com/ ).  Amber bought a box of milk chocolate caramel and I bought a box of milk chocolate/praline/hazelnut.  The woman there was nice enough to bring out a special treat for us....a grape soaked in rum and then covered in chocolate.  It was fabulous!  We also tried fruit kebabs dipped in chocolate, very good but very filling.  There was also booths with samples of Bailey's, wine, Grand Marnier and other chocolate liqueurs.  We hit some of them a couple of times!
There was chocolate for days.....

Unfortunately we missed the chocolate fashion show but they did have the dresses on display.  Some looked a little sad since some chocolate had melted off...

And I couldn't resist having a picture of a chocolate champagne bottle and Eiffel Tower...